MLB Top 100 Prospects 2024

Headlined by a former No. 1 overall pick and an Opening Day starter for the reigning champions, Just Baseball’s Top 100 MLB prospects for 2024 is here.

Just Baseball’s Top 100 MLB Prospects for 2024 is finally here! As always, the list features detailed write-ups on each of the 100 players ranked based off of live looks, sourced Minor League data and countless hours of video. Of course, conversations with scouts, team officials and other industry sources are baked into these rankings as well.

You may notice something new with this year’s scouting grades; rather than evaluating both Raw Power and Game Power, we have scratched the former in favor of Plate Discipline. Given the present and future grades we have for game power, raw power felt redundant.

We’ve long felt that hit tool can be a bit misleading without the context of a player’s swing decisions, as a hitter could have a great feel for the barrel that is undermined by a hyper-aggressive approach or vice versa.

One other nuance is our graduation thresholds. Players with 100 at-bats or 35 innings pitched at the MLB level graduate from our rankings, as the goal is to make these ranks as much of an apples to apples comparison as possible. Notable graduates of our list who may appear on others include: Masyn Winn, Noelvi Marte, Shane Baz and Tyler Soderstrom.

For detailed breakdowns and explanations behind the rankings as well as interviews with a large portion of the prospects on this list, be sure to tune into our prospect podcast, “The Call Up”.

You can also keep up with our top prospect lists by team here.

1. Jackson Holliday – SS – Baltimore Orioles

Height/Weight: 6’1″, 175 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 1st Round (1) – 2022 (BAL) | ETA: 2024

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The son of MLB All-Star Matt Holliday and the No. 1 selection in the 2022 Draft, Holliday has five-tool potential and has flown through the Minor Leagues, having reached Triple-A prior to his 20th birthday. Already looking ready to contribute at the big league level, Holliday still has plenty more upside to grow into.

Offense

Holliday is an advanced hitter for his age with a smooth swing from the left side and comfort driving the ball to all fields. Starting upright, Holliday utilizes a slow leg kick to get into his lower half, but repeats it well and has looked comfortable with his timing.

The athleticism of Holliday is more than evident in the batter’s box, as he shows off impressive lower-half adjustability, helping him still get good swings off even when he is a bit fooled or out in front. Much like his father, Holliday is a patient hitter who does not strike out much and will work plenty of free passes. Despite climbing three levels this year, Holliday is running just a 20% chase rate.

The impact is not totally there yet for Holliday, but he has a decent sized frame and room to add more muscle which could help him develop above average or even plus power. He has the tendency to pull off of the ball a bit with his front side, which can minimize his ability to use the ground and his lower half to generate more power. The move does not impede his ability to consistently make contact thanks to his adjustability and feel for the barrel. Holliday projects as an easy plus hitter with more juice to tap into.

Defense/Speed

A plus runner with plenty of lateral quickness and range, Holliday has a great chance to stick at shortstop. He is already demonstrating smooth actions, good instincts and soft hands. His arm is fringy at this stage, but he gets the ball out quickly enough.

Holliday has the goods to blossom into an above average shortstop as he continues to improve his footwork, but if he moves to second base he could be an elite defender there. His plus speed should make him a consistent threat to steal bases despite being a bit inefficient in the early stages of his pro career (28-for-38 entering 2024)

Outlook

While he wasn’t the slam dunk pick at the time, it is easy to see why Holliday was the top choice for the Orioles in the 2022 draft. He immediately demonstrated an innate feel to hit and advanced approach along with tools and physical projection to dream on.

He rarely gives away at-bats and already has the approach of a big leaguer. The most advanced prep prospect in his class, Holliday has flown through the minor leagues quickly thanks to his polish and approach to the game. He will likely be a contributor for the Orioles far before he is a finished product which is a testament to his rare high floor/ceiling combo. How much power he taps into will determine whether Holliday can reach his perennial All-Star ceiling, but he looks like he could be an above average everyday big leaguer right now.

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2. Wyatt Langford – OF – Texas Rangers

Height/Weight: 6’1″, 215 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (4) – 2023 (TEX) | ETA: 2024

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There are plenty of scouts who believe Langford could be the best player out of the 2023 draft class, and when you take a look at both his production at the University of Florida and his freaky tools across the board, it’s pretty easy to understand why.

Offense

Starting with his weight stacked on his backside and hands below his shoulder, Langford uses a short gathering leg kick to get further into his lower half, along with a small hand load that he consistently times.

Langford’s base is really strong and he uses it well throughout his swing to produce easy plus power. With a swing geared for lift and a powerful lower half, he absolutely demolishes velocity and pretty much anything middle-in.

He does have the tendency to pull off with his front side a bit, leaving him susceptible to spin breaking towards the outer half. Langford improved in this regard as his college season progressed and has demonstrated the ability to catch the ball deep and drive it the other way with authority on many occasions. That said, this is still something to monitor against higher quality breaking balls in pro ball.

A patient hitter, Langford walked more than he struck out in his Junior season at Florida with a chase rate around 17%. He already possesses easy plus power, posting exit velocities as high as 114 mph.

Langford’s ability to catch up to velocity, even if it’s at the top of the zone, is impressive and as he improves upon his ability to stay on breaking stuff, he should grow into an above average hitter with game-changing power.

Defense/Speed

Though Langford posts plus run times, his speed is not as much of a factor in games as it maybe should be. His reads are a work in progress in the outfield, not always getting the best jumps on balls, but his wheels do help bail him out if he misjudges a ball. It’s important to note that Langford arrived to college as a catcher/first baseman, so his outfield defense should continue to come along with more reps, especially with his athleticism.

Though he is not much of a stolen base threat yet, it could be something that becomes a part of his game later as well. His speed is more evident in his home to first times or if he puts a ball in the gap and gets trucking.

Outlook

There’s no shortage of tools and excitement with Langford, who has the potential to be much more than just a power bat. His 47 home runs in 130 college starts are extremely impressive, but doing that while walking more than he struck out is incredible. With complementary tools that you rarely see from a player with his offensive profile, Langford has a chance to be a special power bat with athleticism that surprises. He has a long way to go, but there’s shades of Paul Goldschmidt in Langford’s game.

3. Junior Caminero – 3B – Tampa Bay Rays

Height/Weight: 6’2″, 215 | Bat/Throw: R/R | IFA: 2019 (CLE) | ETA: 2024

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Acquired from Cleveland for pitcher Tobias Myers as the Rays fought a roster crunch ahead of the 40-man deadline going into the 2022 season, the Rays identified Caminero before he had even recorded an at-bat outside of the complex. Caminero has matured quickly, looking like one of the better power hitting prospects in baseball.

Offense

Caminero uses a big leg kick and barrel tip in his load, but his athleticism in the box and elite bat speed help him be on time despite the louder moves. A physical build for a 20-year-old, Caminero is already putting up elite exit velocities with a 90th percentile exit velocity of 111 MPH and max exit velocity of 114 MPH. His 90th percentile exit velocity would rank in the top five among qualified MLB hitters.

His whippy bat speed and decent feel for the barrel help Caminero keep the whiff in check, and with better swing decisions he could be an average or better hitter. There’s a chance that Caminero’s pre-swing moves will be more difficult to time up against more advanced pitching, but he has already toned down his barrel tip and load as he has racked up more at-bats at the upper levels.

There’s no doubting the top-of-the-scale raw power he possesses in the exit velocity department, but he will need to drive the ball in the air more consistently to tap into more game power. One of five batted balls that qualify as a fly ball for Caminero leave the yard (20% HR/FB rate), which is a sustainably strong figure given how hard he hits the ball; if he cuts his 50% ground ball rate, he easily has 30+ homer upside.

Defense/Speed

Though Caminero is not the most rangy, he has a big arm and decent hands that help him get by at the hot corner. He struggles at times with his throwing accuracy, but he can also make throws deep in the hole or across his body that others can’t. With more reps and perhaps cleaning up his throwing motion a bit, Caminero has a chance to develop into an average defender at third. An average runner, he is not much of a base stealer, but far from a negative on the base paths.

Outlook

It’s easy to see the power hitting third base profile for Caminero, and his decent chance of avoiding a move to first helps. While free-swinging, power hitting teenagers are extremely risky by nature, Caminero’s surprisingly decent contact rates and ability to perform at a high level as a 19/20-year-old in Double-A quells much of that concern.

2023 is Caminero’s first full season above the rookie level and his chase rates have dropped as he has compiled more at-bats. There’s a chance for elite power and enough feel to hit to get into it consistently. Caminero has the upside of one of the more feared young power hitters in the game if it all comes together.

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4. Jackson Chourio – OF – Milwaukee Brewers

Height/Weight: 6’1″, 170 | Bat/Throw: R/R | IFA: $1.8M – 2021 (MIL) | ETA: 2024

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Chourio wasted no time getting acclimated to baseball stateside last season. After putting up good numbers in the DSL in 2021, he then tore through Low-A and High-A pitching in 2022 en route to an unheard of Double-A debut as an 18-year-old. The Brewers top prospect continued to get more comfortable at Double-A, posting fantastic numbers from June onward despite being being the youngest player in the league.

Offense

A twitchy, explosive athlete, Chourio generates plus bat speed with relative ease. Chourio’s load is simple, picking his heel up while focusing on shifting his weight onto his back side. While not owning the biggest of frames, much of Chourio’s pop comes from his sturdy lower half and rotational power. 

As a result, Chourio can get a bit out of control at times and pull off the ball. That said, Chourio has shown plenty of comfort going the other way, and has continued to use the whole field more frequently as he gains more experience. 

Already posting a max exit velocity of 112 MPH as a teenager and plenty of 105+ MPH batted balls to all fields, Chourio is already flashing plus power with a chance to tap into even more.

An aggressive hitter, Chourio’s 35% chase rate has limited his ability to take free passes, but thanks to how quick Chourio is to the ball, he has the ability to see the ball travel a bit longer and should be able to leverage that advantage into making better swing decisions. He has slowly seen his chase numbers drop as the season has progressed.

As Chourio improves with his patience and approach, he should develop into an above average hitter with easy plus raw power. The sky is the limit offensively.  

Defense/Speed

A 70-grade runner with good closing speed in center, Chourio has a great chance to stick in center field. His reads and routes can be a bit shaky at times, relying on his elite wheels to make up for it, but with more experience, he should develop into a solid defender. 

It took him some time to get comfortable as a base stealer, but Chourio has been aggressive and efficient in his second full season. Through his first 80 games of 2023, he was 28 for 32 on stolen base attempts. He should easily be able to steal 30+ bags per season. 

Outlook

What Chourio did at the Low-A and High-A level as an 18-year-old in 2022 was almost unprecedented. Though he struggled in the early goings of his Double-A stint, the fact that he was even able to reach the upper levels before his 19th birthday illustrates how special Chourio’s skillset and natural feel for the game is. Now putting up strong numbers as the youngest player in the Southern League, Chourio has solidified himself as one of baseball’s best prospects.

Plus tools across the board aside from the hit tool–which is still above average–gives Chourio superstar potential. Assuming he continues to mature as a hitter, Chourio has 30/30 upside with a shot to stick in center.

5. Evan Carter – OF – Texas Rangers

Height/Weight: 6’4″, 190 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 2nd Round (50) – 2020 | ETA: 2024

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An under-the-radar Tennessee prep prospect in the 2020 Draft, the Rangers snagged Carter in the second round for an underslot bonus of $1.25 million. Carter impressed with his polish and well-rounded game, reaching Double-A in his first season. He followed that with an even more impressive 2023, flying through the upper levels before helping the Rangers win the World Series as a September call up.

Offense

Despite being tall with long levers Carter’s swing is compact, efficient and repeatable. His pre swing moves are simple, using a small leg kick and minimal hand movement to get to his slot.

Carter is already a polished hitter with an extremely advanced approach which helps him tap into his developing power with some consistency. While his exit velocities are closer to average, he flashes above average power to his pull side, leveraging his advantage counts well and rarely missing a pitch he can do damage on to his pull side.

Prior to his big league debut, Carter ran a chase rate below 20% and slightly above average contact rates. Though the bat to ball is not quite plus, his elite swing decisions help him keep the strikeouts in check striking out less than 19% of the time in his Minor League career to go with a 16% walk rate.

Carter was sheltered from left on left matchups at the big league level as Bruce Bochy mixed and matched with a deep Rangers lineup. A .240/.396/.370 hitter against southpaws in around 260 Minor League plate appearances, Carter has struggled to tap into much power, but he is far from a liability splits wise.

The combination of long levers with a good feel to hit and great approach can lead to a lethal power/hit combination, especially if Carter adds strength to his projectable frame. As is, Carter looks like he could comfortably be an above average bat at the highest level, but the room for more is what makes him one of the game’s best prospects.

Defense/Speed

A double plus runner, Carter chews up turf with long strides, covering plenty of ground in the outfield or on the bases. He looks the part in centerfield, already showcasing a smooth feel for the position. With Leody Tavares manning centerfield, Carter slid over to left where he could play closer to a plus defender with at least an average arm.

Carter is still learning how to become more of a factor on the base paths, swiping 29 bags on 40 tries across all levels in 2023. He has flashed the ability, but needs to work on his jumps and picking the right spots to go. With his speed, he has a chance to be consistent stolen base threat.

Outlook

It’s hard to poke a hole in Carter’s game. Already a high floor prospect with big league success under his belt and strong tools across the board, the Rangers feel confident that they have a major piece of their present and future in Evan Carter. You’d be hard pressed to find a higher probability MLB regular within the top 100 list, but if he grows into a bit more juice, Carter could easily make several All-Star appearances.

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6. James Wood – OF – Washington Nationals

Height/Weight: 6’7″, 220 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 2nd Round (62) – 2021 (SD) | ETA: 2025

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At 6-foot-7 with impressive athleticism, fluidity and mobility, Wood is a rare talent with boundless upside. He surprised many with a more advanced feel to hit at the lower levels in his first full pro season, but has run into some whiff challenges at the upper levels.

Offense

Starting upright and open, Wood sinks into his back side with a small leg kick and coil. The moves are relatively simple and repeatable, but repeating anything when you’re 6-foot-7 is going to be a bit more difficult than it is for most hitters. He has made some minor tweaks with his load which has made his moves more repeatable, boding well for the trend of both his contact and chase rates.

Boasting effortless pop to all fields, Wood already flashes top-of-the scale exit velocities, with a 90th% exit velocity right around 107 mph in his age 20 season. He has the kind of power to leave the yard on “B” swings and is still learning to tap into it more consistently.

Secondary stuff gave Wood some trouble after his promotion to Double-A, but his ability to pulverize fastballs and hangers kept him afloat. His swing decisions improved as he gained more reps in Double-A. Even if the hit tool is fringy, Wood has the potential to hit more than 30 homers with a developing ability to draw free passes.

Defense/Speed

A great athlete, Wood played basketball as well before moving down to Florida to focus on baseball (smart move). Wood is a plus runner, with massively long strides that help him close an outfield gap in what seems like a couple steps. His reads are a work in progress up the middle, resulting in some inconsistent routes, but he has flashed enough ability to stick up the middle.

If he slows down some, he could move to a corner where his above average arm and offensive profile would play well. Wood accelerates well for such a big guy, swiping 18 bags on 21 tries in 2023. He should be a solid threat to put up similar stolen base numbers at the highest level.

Outlook

There have been few players with Wood’s profile, which further highlights his upside and volatility. There’s as much to dream on with James Wood has as much upside as any prospect in baseball. Despite being a raw prep prospect, the former second round pick immediately impressed with more polish than expected and has put up big numbers at every stop.

The uptick in whiff after being promoted to Double-A is something to monitor, however still mashing 18 homers (124 wRC+) in 87 games at the level as his strikeout rate crept over 30% for the first time at any stop since he was 18 years old is a reminder that Wood can be extremely productive even if the hit tool does not totally come along. A rare talent, there’s 40 home run upside to dream on with the ability to play all three outfield spots.

7. Walker Jenkins – OF – Minnesota Twins

Height/Weight: 6’3″, 215 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (5), 2023 (MIN) | ETA: 2026

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Rare bat to ball skills for a 6-foot-3 teenager and good athleticism give Jenkins the goods to be a true five-tool player.

Offense

A relaxed setup with simple pre-swing moves, Jenkins is consistently on time with his sweet left-handed swing and requires little effort to tap into impressive impact. His athleticism in the box is evident through his ability to control his body and repeat his moves consistently.

Jenkins is still filling out, but flashes plus power to his pull side already impressively balancing his knack for driving the ball in the air with authority with his advanced feel to hit. He already leverages his advantage counts well to look to do damage while showcasing the barely maneuverability to drive a pitcher’s pitch when he’s behind.

Possessing a good feel for the strike zone and the ability to drive the ball all over the field, Jenkins has the tools to be a special offensive force who climbs quickly for a prep bat.

Defense/Speed

A good runner who has looked comfortable in center field, Jenkins has a shot to stick up the middle. Should he move to a corner, his range and plus arm could give him plus potential with the glove. Jenkins should be a decent stolen base threat.

Outlook

An advanced swing for a prep bat with tools galore, Jenkins became a top-25 prospect in baseball the second the ink dried on his $7.1 million signing bonus with the Twins. There’s room for additional muscle in Jenkins frame, which would push his power to the plus territory, but his feel to hit and presently above average power will make him a strong offensive piece regardless. There’s a Kyle Tucker-type of profile here.

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8. Jackson Jobe – RHP – Detroit Tigers

Height/Weight: 6’2″, 195 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (3), 2021 | ETA: 2025

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The top prep arm in the 2021 Draft, Jobe boasts lively stuff and is a premium athlete on the mound. After dealing with a back issue that delayed the start of his 2023 season, Jobe returned looking better than ever.

Check out our conversation with Jackson Jobe!

Arsenal

Viewed as a candidate to climb relatively quickly, Jobe’s stay in Low-A was longer than planned due to somewhat inconsistent fastball command and lower than expected chase rates on his slider. Still, the potential was more than evident.

Jobe’s fastball sits 95-97 MPH, with solid life and carry. Averaging around 18 inches of induced vertical break, the fastball plays well at the top of the zone, but he has also improved his ability to spot strikes at the bottom.

Jobe’s mid-80s slider is his best pitch. Averaging around 15 inches of horizontal break at more than 3,000 RPM, the pitch featured so much break that he had trouble locating it consistently in the early going of his professional career. He has since found much more consistency with it, having the confidence to throw it for a strike on both sides of the plate while not having much fear of leaving it over the middle because of how sharp and late the break is.

The third pitch for Jobe is a changeup that has flashed above average in the 85-87 MPH range. He has adjusted his grip on the pitch to more of a split grip that keeps the spin under 2,000 RPMs with good arm side fade. Much like the rest of his arsenal, Jobe’s mechanical improvements have helped him throw it for a strike far more frequently.

Rounding out the arsenal for Jobe is a cutter in the low 90s that he added ahead of the 2023 season. He only mixes it in around 10% of the time, but it gives him another look against hitters from both sides of the plate. With shorter break, it is easier to spot for Jobe and his ability to supinate should make it an above average pitch as he throws it more.

Outlook

Jobe had the looks of one of the most polished high school arms we had seen in a while before a couple hiccups in his first pro season and an unfortunate injury ahead of 2023. Now healthy and looking far more comfortable than he did last year, Jobe mentioned the silver-lining of his injury layoff that allowed him to work on things.

He likely could have returned much sooner in the 2023 season, but the Tigers understandably wanted to be cautious with their prized pitching prospect, and as a result, he was able to throw plenty in a control environment before he took the field again in a game setting. Jobe even mentioned in an interview on Just Baseball’s prospect podcast “The Call Up” how valuable that time was for him as a silver-lining.

His improved ability to get his momentum working towards home plate has resulted in not only an uptick in stuff, but an uptick in strikes. In terms of sheer talent, Jobe is one of the best pitching prospects in the game and it looks like he his starting to put it all together on the field.

Read More: Now Healthy, Jackson Jobe is Making Up For Lost Time

9. Paul Skenes – RHP – Pittsburgh Pirates

 Height/Weight: 6’6″, 250 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (1), 2023 (PIT) | ETA: 2024

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Skenes transferred to LSU in hopes of improving his draft stock by throwing in the SEC. In turn, he became a National Champion and one of the best pitching prospects we have seen in some time.

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Arsenal

Skenes is a power pitcher in every sense, but his ability to locate his explosive stuff is what really sets him apart. The right-hander was able to lean on his 98-100 MPH fastball nearly two-thirds of the time, simply overpowering collegiate hitters while also commanding it on both sides of the plate.

There’s some questions about the shape of Skenes’ fastball, but shape becomes less consequential when you can locate triple digits. Over his last ten collegiate starts, Skenes averaged 99 MPH and touched 102 MPH several times.

The wipeout pitch is the slider in the mid 80s. The pitch features late sweep and is difficult to differentiate from the fastball out of his hand. Skenes locates it extremely well to his glove side, but the pitch is such a whiff machine that he can pick up ugly swings even when he doesn’t drill his spot.

While he did not need to use it much in college, Skenes has a good changeup that could develop into a plus pitch as he becomes more accustomed to throwing it. It sits in the 88-91 MPH range with good arm side fade.

Outlook

One of the best college arms we have seen in some time, Skenes should fly through the minor leagues with little reason to waste bullets at the lower levels. While he will need some seasoning in the minors, it is arguable that the bulk of his development could be had at the big league level, given his borderline plus command of two 70-grade pitches.

The development of his changeup will likely be the key to his frontline upside, but he is likely good enough to churn out quality starts for the Pirates while still working on his feel for the pitch. We could see Skenes making MLB starts as early as next season. With some tweaks to his fastball shape and refinement of an already solid third pitch, Skenes could blossom into one of the best young arms in the game.

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10. Jackson Merrill – OF – San Diego Padres

Height/Weight: 6’3″, 195 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 1st Round (27) – 2021 (SD) | ETA: 2024

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An under-slot first round pick, the Padres followed their trend of scooping up pop-up prospects with the selection of Merrill. Not only has his hit tool translated, but Merrill is hitting the ball with more authority than many evaluators anticipated and has looked explosive with even more room for projection.

Offense

Merrill starts with a slightly open stance, relaxed hands and his weight slightly stacked on his back side. His hand load is quiet and he uses a minimal leg kick to get himself closed while keeping his energy stored in his back hip. Merrill maneuvers the barrel really well with great plate coverage. His 88% zone contact and 83% contact rates are both elite, and despite a slightly aggressive approach (30% chase), Merrill has only punched out around 12% of the time.

At 6-foot-3, 175 pounds, he has a big frame with room to add more strength. While he still has some ways to go to tap into the impact that many evaluators believe he can, he has already flashed exit velocities as high as 110 MPH.

More lower half consistency and improved swing decisions should help Merrill tap into more juice as he sometimes takes “B” swings at borderline pitches in even/hitters counts, resulting in more weak contact and ground balls.

As he learns to leverage his hitter’s counts and lift the baseball a bit more consistently, there’s a chance for a rare blend of plus hit and power with Merrill.

Defense/Speed

While just an average runner, Merrill moves his feet well at shortstop and has the ingredients to stick there. He has worked on his explosiveness and quickness, looking much rangier than evaluators thought he would be coming out of high school. With an above average arm, soft hands and good instincts, Merrill should provide some value with the glove.

In an effort to fit him into the big league lineup soon, the Padres have had Merrill get reps in the outfield where he has already shown some comfort. He has the athleticism and arm to potentially be an above average corner outfielder and or average centerfielder as he gains more experience. He seems to get better out there each game.

Outlook

An easy plus hit tool from the left side along with elite makeup and a good chance to stick at shortstop give Merrill one of the higher floors you’re going to find from a young prospect. With plenty of physical projection and continuous improvements on both sides of the ball, there is an All-Star ceiling to dream on with the former first rounder as well.

Already one of the best shortstop prospects in the minors, Merrill has a chance to become one of the best overall prospects in the game, even if he has to learn a new position in the process. He should be a contributor for the Padres in 2024.

11. Dylan Crews – OF – Washington Nationals

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One of the best college draft prospects we have seen in some time, Crews offers five tool upside with an advanced feel for the game.

Offense

Crews is as athletic of a hitter as they come. He really gets into his lower half, sinking deep into his back hip as he loads. Elite hip mobility and body control allow Crews to use the ground effectively to generate power, boasting plus plus bat speed. He gets to difficult pitches and has no problem turning around premium velocity.

The exit velocities are top of the NCAA scale for Crews, with a 90th percentile exit velocity just under 110 MPH (with metal). The raw power is easily plus, but a slightly elevated ground ball rate held Crews back from hitting more homers (he still hit 58 HR in 196 collegiate games).

One of the most patient amateur hitters you’ll find, Crews ran a chase rate below 15%, helping him walk 71 times against just 46 strikeouts in his junior season. Those around Crews credit a more mature approach as he got acclimated to college ball, as well as unbelievably strong eyesight.

It was nearly impossible to get the LSU product out his entire 2023 season (he hit .426), but some pitchers were able to find success with sliders against Crews. He has the occasional tendency to pull off of hard breaking stuff, causing him to swing over or roll over sharp sliders at times. Even if there’s an adjustment period for Crews against high-end sliders, he still rarely chases them, which hedges some concern in that department.

Crews has a rare blend of a high ceiling and floor. There’s enough power to hit 30 home runs, good enough plate discipline to walk at a high clip, and a feel to hit that should allow him to hit for average.

Defense/Speed

A plus runner, Crews has a good feel for center field, getting excellent jumps off of the bat while looking comfortable with his routes. Despite some speculation that he could ultimately move to a corner, Crews looks the part in center and should not only stick there, but also provide plenty of defensive value up the middle. If he does make a move to a corner for some reason, his plus arm and great range would make him an easy plus defender.

Despite consistently producing above average to plus run times, Crews is not much of a base stealer. He will pick his spots, but almost because pitchers are not worried about him going. He was 6-for-6 on stolen base attempts in 71 games for LSU last season.

Outlook

It’s extremely difficult to poke a hole in the game of Dylan Crews. After being considered one of the best prep prospects in his class, Crews went on to somehow exceed expectations by hitting .380/.498/.689 in three seasons at LSU. The tools, track record, and performance on the big stage made Crews a slam dunk pick for the Nationals at No. 2 and he has a chance to climb the ladder very quickly. The Nationals could have their next face of the franchise.

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12. Samuel Basallo – C – Baltimore Orioles

Height/Weight: 6’1″, 235 | Bat/Throw: L/R | IFA: $1.3M – 2021 (BAL) | ETA: 2025

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Ridiculous power potential for a teenager and production at the lower levels have Basallo rising quickly despite evaluators not being sure where he long-term defensive home may be. He is well on his way to becoming an offensive monster.

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Offense

Starting with his bat rested on his shoulder, Basallo features a smooth, rhythmic load to get his hands slotted and sink into his back hip. Already built like a freight train, Basallo produces plus exit velocities power to all fields. He reached exit velocities as high as 112 mph at just 18 years old and while there may not be a ton of projection in his frame, he will almost surely get stronger as he develops.

Basallo is an aggressive hitter with a fair amount of whiff, but he has kept his strikeout rate at a palatable rate. He shows some adjustability in the box with relatively simple moves, providing optimism that he can develop into an average hitter with better swing decisions. Basallo already does a good job of getting into his power in games, especially to his pull side.

Strong out of zone contact rates help hedge his moderate overall contact rates. As the 2023 season progressed, Basallo cut his chase rate some while maintaining his high in zone swing rate. The result was a ridiculous finish to his 2023 campaign, hitting .351/.450/.685 with just a 16% strikeout rate and 14% walk rate in 31 High-A/Double-A games.

Defense/Speed

A plus throwing arm is the leading defensive tool for Basallo who may be a candidate to move from behind the dish. He moves well enough to continue to get looks at catcher, but his blocking and receiving has a ways to go. His receiving is particularly weak. His catch and throw skills are strong, gunning down around 33% of attempted base stealers with impressive pop times. There’s a chance Basallo can stick at the position and he has shown some improvements already.

Outlook

If Basallo can stick at catcher, he could be a rare commodity as an elite left-handed power threat at a tough position. It’s still early in his development, but his offensive upside is already staggering enough to make him one of baseball’s best young prospects despite potential defensive limitations. Average hit and plus power will play anywhere, but there’s more pressure on his fringy hit tool if he has to move to first.

13. Coby Mayo – 3B – Baltimore Orioles

Height/Weight: 6’5″, 190 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 4th Round (103), 2020 (BAL) | ETA: 2024

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A popular breakout candidate, Mayo did not quite have the year many had hoped he would in 2022, but he still put up above average numbers despite aggressive assignments and earned rave reviews during the Orioles’ spring.

Check out our interview with Coby Mayo!

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Offense

Boasting a huge frame and long levers, yet with a surprisingly controlled swing, Mayo impressed with his feel to hit the second he entered pro ball. Despite his 6-foot-5 frame, Mayo manages his length well, posting solid contact rates.

As a 20-year-old adjusting to the upper levels in 2022, Mayo struggled to recognize more advanced spin, causing his strikeout rate to jump from 21.5% in High-A to 34.5% in Double-A. He also battled some nagging injuries. However, his advanced swing, above average contact rates and impressive athleticism for his size hedges any major whiff concern long-term.

Mayo worked with the Orioles on some minor swing tweaks heading into the 2023 season to help him tap into more power, and the results have been evident. His 90th percentile exit velocity jumped to 107 MPH with a max exit velocity of 113 MPH. Pair the phenomenal exit velocities with a consistent ability to drive the ball in the air and it’s easy to envision plus game power or more for Mayo.

He absolutely pulverizes fastballs, mashing to an OPS over 1.000 and has improved his OPS by more than 200 points against breaking balls in 2023. Mayo has also cut his chase rate to around 22%, helping him walk at a well above average clip.

It’s easy to understand why the O’s were willing to go well over slot for the teenager, his simple hitting mechanics follow suit with what the organization looks for, but he also has big power potential with his huge frame and athleticism.

Defense/Speed

Mayo moves well for his size and has a plus arm at third base. He has worked hard at his defense, improving his footwork and actions. Once viewed as a candidate to move off of the position, Mayo looks like he can be an average defender there. Though he is not much of a base stealer, Mayo is at least an average runner.

Outlook

A quick learner who is lauded for his makeup and work ethic, it is really impressive for Mayo to reach Triple-A within two seasons as a power hitting prep bat. While there will naturally be some whiff with a player of his profile, Mayo manages the swing and miss really well for a 6-foot-5 masher and walks plenty.

There’s big-time power to dream on with Mayo along with the approach and bat-to-ball skills that should allow him to get on base at a strong clip.

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14. Jasson Dominguez – OF – New York Yankees

Height/Weight: 5’11″, 210 | Bat/Throw: S/R | IFA: $5M – 2020 (NYY) | ETA: 2024

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Dominguez made adjustments heading into the 2022 season and broke out in a big way, reaching Double-A before his 20th birthday. The switch-hitting center fielder continued to refine his approach in 2023 and the results were evident as he climbed levels. He exploded onto the scene for the Yankees with a near 1.000 OPS in his first eight big league games before a torn UCL wiped out the rest his season and the beginning of 2024.

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Offense

When Dominguez first broke into pro ball in 2021, there were a lot of moving parts to the switch-hitter’s swing that he struggled to repeat, often looking out of sorts–especially from the right side of the plate. Ahead of the 2022 season, Dominguez cut down his leg kick while quieting/simplifying his hand load. The tweaks helped Dominguez see the ball earlier and repeat his moves more consistently.

The adjustments not only helped Dominguez up his OPS from the right side by more than 200 points, but he also trimmed his pull rate and chase rate, making better overall swing decisions. Dominguez’s swing was further along from the left side to begin with, though he made some smaller tweaks to achieve much of the same benefits as his right-handed improvements.

On top of the mechanical adjustments, Dominguez has since cut chase to a solid mark while steadily improving his contact rates as he has accumulated more professional at bats. While he is still working to tap into his plus power consistently in games, he has flashed exit velocities as high as 112 MPH with a 90th percentile exit velocity of 106 MPH.

Dominguez has a better feel to hit than some give him credit for, settling in at each level he has reached and seeing his strikeout rates drop as each season has progressed. His improved patience at the plate has helped him walk at high clip as well. If he can drive the ball in the air more consistently, he should be able to tap into plus game power.

Defense/Speed

Dominguez slimmed down a bit from his first pro season, helping him get to his top speed quicker both in the outfield and on the bases, easily recording plus run times.

As he has gained reps in the outfield, he has cleaned up his routes while getting better jumps on balls. Possessing a plus arm, Dominguez would project as a plus defender in a corner, but he has the goods to stick in center. He has turned into a a major factor on the base paths, swiping 35 bags in his first 100 Double-A games in 2023.

Outlook

With unfair expectations placed on Dominguez prior to his first professional at-bat, Dominguez was somewhat setup for failure in the eyes of the general public if there were any growing pains in “The Martian’s” development. Turns out, Dominguez is indeed human and had a learning curve. That said, he is a special athlete with a well-regarded work ethic that allowed him to learn and develop much more quickly than most players his age.

A switch-hitting centerfielder with plus power and speed is a rare profile that every organization would love to have. As Dominguez’s maturity in the box has been tangible as he has climbed levels, capped off with a great MLB cameo before going down with a torn UCL. He could develop into an All-Star centerfielder with impact tools across the board. If he moves to a corner, he could still be a dynamic speed and power combo with enough production to comfortably carry the corner profile.

15. Roman Anthony – OF – Boston Red Sox

Height/Weight: 6’3″, 200 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 2nd Round (79), 2022 (BOS) | ETA: 2025

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A second round pick in the 2022 draft, Anthony has already made waves with his power to all fields and advanced approach.

Offense

Anthony starts upright with his hands high and sinking into his back side with an early, slow load. He gets himself into a good hitting position, helping him see the ball early and crush velocity as well as make good swing decisions.

He has an OPS well over 1.000 against fastballs, showing the ability get to heaters in difficult spots. His overall chase rate of 18% is one of the lower figures you’re going to find from a teenager in full season ball, helping him walk at a high clip. He toes the line of passiveness sometimes taking hittable pitches in the zone.

Where Anthony is still a work in progress is handling breaking balls, which stems from lower half inconsistencies. While he gets himself into a good spot pre-swing, Anthony has the tendency to leak forward on breaking stuff, losing his back hip prematurely.

Of course, this is an extremely common challenge for young hitters — especially teenagers in High-A. This should improve as Anthony gets more reps and learns how to control his body a bit better through his swing. He has already demonstrated an above average feel for the barrel, which paired with his bat speed and patience gives him an above average hit tool projection.

Anthony boasts exciting power potential, driving the ball over the replica monster in Greenville with consistent ease while flashing exit velocities to his pull side as high as 111 MPH already. With a 90th percentile exit velocity of 106 MPH as a 19-year-old, it’s more a matter of consistently lifting the ball for Anthony when it comes to his power, as he already flashes plus raw juice with room for more. Leverage and lift will come with lower half consistency as well.

Defense/Speed

An above average runner, Anthony covers plenty of ground and already commands center field with a fair amount of comfort. From the direct routes he takes to the way he plays the ball off of Greenville’s jagged center field wall, Anthony looks the part.

He may slow down a bit as he fills out, but already getting good jumps with direct routes, Anthony has a decent shot of sticking up the middle. If he moves to a corner, he’d project as a well-above average defender. Though not much of a base stealer, Anthony adds value on the bases with his decent wheels.

Outlook

Few prospects enjoyed more helium than Roman Anthony in 2023, and for good reason. A second round pick in 2022 out of the talent factory that is Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida, Anthony hit the ground running much like his high school teammate, Baltimore’s Coby Mayo.

Plus power potential with an above average feel to hit and advanced approach is an easy sell offensively, but if Anthony can stick in center as he has shown the ability to do in the early goings, he can quickly become one of the best outfield prospects in baseball.

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16. Colson Montgomery – SS – Chicago White Sox

Height/Weight: 6’4″, 205 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 1st Round (22), 2021 (CWS) | ETA: 2024

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Montgomery was dynamite in his first pro season (2022), mashing through Low-A and posting strong numbers in High-A before a rushed promotion to Double-A as part of “Project Birmingham.” He got a late start to the 2023 season after struggling with back and oblique issues, but returned to solid results between High-A, Double-A and the AFL.

Offense

A big guy with long levers, Montgomery stays short to the ball generating a lot of whip and leverage. He already flashes plus power to his pull side, boasting a 90th percentile exit velocity over 105 mph paired with the ability to elevate.

Montgomery already controls his body really well, keeping his weight back and using his long levers to backspin baseballs with impressive bat speed. His quiet load helps him consistently be on time, producing above average contact rates. While his plus power is more apparent to his pull side at this point, Montgomery comfortably barrels the ball to all fields and should develop into home run power to both foul poles.

Already possessing an advanced approach for this age, Montgomery has walked at a 13.5% clip as a pro with a strikeout rate just under 21% The 22-year-old is an exciting blend of plus power accentuated by an above average feel to hit and the ability to draw walks.

Defense/Speed

A fringy runner, Montgomery moves decently well for his 6-foot-4 frame though his steps can be heavy and a bit flat-footed. He has an above average arm, but with fringy range and sometimes stiff actions. He has worked hard on being more fluid in the infield and has good instincts, providing some optimism that he could get by at the position. Montgomery likely profiles best at third base longterm where he could be an above average defender.

Outlook

Montgomery offers immense upside thanks to his flashes of low-effort, plus pop and a great feel to hit for a player of his build/stature. There may be even more power in the tank for Montgomery as he saw an uptick in exit velocities despite back and oblique injuries restricting him some in 2023. Even if Montgomery slides over to third base, his bat is capable of providing more than ample offensive production for the position.

That said, with nobody in his way at the shorstop position, the White Sox will likely give their former first round pick every opportunity there. He has All Star upside with a good chance of being a regular on the left side of the infield.

17. Chase DeLauter – OF – Cleveland Guardians

Height/Weight: 6’4″, 235 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 1st Round (16), 2022 (CLE) | ETA: 2025

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As athletic of a 6-foot-4, 230+ pound baseball player you’ll find in the Minor Leagues, DeLauter’s Junior season and professional debut was wiped out by a broken foot before another foot issue delayed his start to 2023. He has made up for lost time by putting up huge numbers in High-A, Double-A and the Arizona Fall League, flashing a potentially elite blend of hit and power.

Offense

Big and strong with a compact swing, DeLauter is direct to the baseball but still packs a punch. He struggled to control his lower half at times at James Madison University, drifting prematurely onto his front foot which could cause bat drag.

He has cleaned things up since joining the Guardians organization, engaging his lower half and holding his back hip more effectively. There’s still a noticeable slide forward as he swings, which results in the short finish that can look like he is cutting off his swing.

It is not necessarily a major detriment because of how efficient his path is, how much bat speed he generates and his barrel accuracy. The one area that could be a challenge for is hard stuff in, as it is even more difficult to avoid being crowded or tied up on velocity inside if there is any premature forward move.

He has already posted exit velocities as high as 112 mph on multiple occasions with a 90th percentile exit velocity above 104 mph in 2023. There’s likely more power in the tank as he continues to improve his base.

DeLauter’s barrel accuracy and efficiency to the ball is extremely impressive, running plus contact rates both in and out of the zone. The icing on the cake is his patient approach, drawing free passes at a decent clip, while running a chase rate below 20%. Good pitch recognition skills and impressive barrel control have helped him produce strong numbers against secondary offerings as well.

A potential blend of plus hit and power with a good approach, DeLauter boasts more offensive upside than any prospect in the Guardians system with multi-All Star upside.

Defense/Speed

A plus runner, DeLauter looks the part in centerfield with good reads and comfortable routes. If he slows down, his plus arm would play well in either corner where he could be a plus defender, but he has the ability to stick in center.

Outlook

Having only played a total of 100 collegiate games including his time on the Cape prior to his pro debut in 2023, DeLauter has had a lot of layoff time and not a lot of at bats. Factor in that DeLauter’s limited collegiate at bats was mostly against weaker competition at James Madison University and it is even more impressive how he was able to demolish his way through High-A, Double-A and the Arizona Fall League.

Potential for a rare blend of hit and power paired with good speed and a chance to stick in center give DeLauter an exciting profile that could quickly make him one of the more exciting outfield prospects in baseball. There’s shades of Kyle Tucker here.

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18. Jordan Lawlar – SS – Arizona Diamondbacks

Height/Weight: 6’2″, 185 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (6), 2021 (ARI) | ETA: 2024

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A premium athlete who continues to impress with his feel in the batter’s box, Lawlar has quickly blossomed into one of the game’s most dynamic infield prospects.

Offense

Setting up in a medium base with equal weight distribution, Lawlar uses a gathering leg kick along with a barrel tip for timing before unleashing a lightning quick stroke.

The swing produces more quickness than raw bat speed, but there is more bat speed to come as he adds strength. Lawlar’s feel to hit and approach has helped him handle aggressive assignments, showcasing impressive bat-to-ball skills and an advanced knowledge of the strike zone as one of the youngest hitters at each level he has been at.

His swing has a tendency to get big in plus counts, similar to most young hitters, but it almost certainly won’t be a problem as he matures. Lawlar shows an advanced ability to use the whole field with authority while being able to just throw his hands at a pitch with two strikes and use his speed to leg one out when he is fooled.

The power is the bigger question mark, as he may never be physically imposing. With that being said, he already flashes average power to his pull side with room to add at least some strength. His exit velocities are a tick above average (103 MPH 90th percentile EV) and he does a good job of consistently hitting the ball in the air. He could ultimately provide 20 homer pop on an annual basis.

His desire to elevate to his pull side can result in him pulling off or swinging over quality breaking balls, which was something he struggled with in his MLB debut. This should get better as he continues to improve his ability to recognize spin and picks his spots to hunt for pull side damage more effectively.

Lawlar’s advanced feel to hit and developing power give him great upside in the batter’s box. He fits the profile of the modern leadoff hitter to a tee. 

Defense

Lawlar is an elite athlete with quick-twitch actions on the defensive side of the ball. There are no questions about his ability to stick at shortstop, and his range, hands, and plus arm lead us to believe he could be an impactful defender. 

He’s also a plus-plus runner who will flash elite home-to-first times. The defensive tools are loud and he should impact the game with his glove and legs on a nightly basis. 

Outlook

There’s an exciting blend of polish and some projection in Lawlar’s game. His elite athleticism and high offensive floor give him a great chance of being an everyday shortstop at the highest level, but there’s still room for more.

Lawlar has the ceiling of an All-Star capable of impacting the game in a variety of ways. If he can tap into 20 home-run power in the big leagues, we could see some shades of Trea Turner.

19. Colt Keith – 2B – Detroit Tigers

Height/Weight: 6’2″, 220 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 5th Round (132), 2020 (DET) | ETA: 2024

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Viewed as an advanced prep bat when he was drafted in 2020, Keith has since added around 30 pounds of muscle and is already seeing it translate into much more game power. Though his defensive home is in question, Keith’s hit/power combination gives him a solid offensive floor with plenty to be excited about.

Offense

Keith starts with a slightly open and upright stance before sinking into his back leg with a gathering toe tap. He already uses his explosive lower half really well and has an extremely quick bat which still seems to live in the zone forever.

Boasting easy plus power, Keith has already posted exit velocities above 110 MPH on a handful of occasions with a 90th percentile exit velocity of 105.5 MPH. He effectively translates the high-end exit velocities into game power, consistently driving the ball in the air with carry to all fields.

As he has continued to add strength, Keith has not lost his barrel adjustability and overall feel to hit that turned the heads of scouts as a much more wiry high schooler. Already posting solid splits against lefties with a patient approach that helps him walk at a high clip, Keith has the chance to be an everyday middle of the order bat by blending above average hit with plus power.

Defense/Speed

Drafted as a third baseman, Keith has played most of his games at third base with a decent chunk at second as well. He projects as a below average fielder at either spot, lacking lateral quickness along with shaky actions and sub par footwork. He has the tendency to pat his glove multiple times when he fields the ball, but has a plus arm to help him out.

A hard worker with impressive makeup, the Tigers are holding out hope that Keith can continue to develop at the hot corner, but it seems unlikely that he will be anything but a fringy defender. Keith’s run times are a bit below average.

Outlook

Essentially all of Keith’s value comes from his bat, but he boasts an exciting offensive profile and seems to get better with the stick every time you check in. Reaching Triple-A as a 21-year-old prep power bat is impressive in itself, but is even more remarkable considering the fact that he had a delayed start to his pro career as a 2020 draftee and had his 2022 season cut to 48 games due to injury.

He didn’t only reach Triple-A quickly, he continued to mash there as well. Keith’s polish was so evident that the Tigers signed him to a rare pre-debut extension that guarantees him $28.6 million over six years with a chance to become $82 million over nine years.

Keith has a chance to be kind of hitter with a rare blend of contact and power, along with the patience at the plate to get on base at a high clip. Put simply, he’s one of the best hitters with prospect eligibility and should slot right into the Tigers infield to start 2024.

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20. Pete Crow-Armstrong – OF – Chicago Cubs

Height/Weight: 6’1″, 185 | Bat/Throw: L/L | 1st Round (19), 2020 (NYM) | ETA: 2023

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The best defensive center fielder in the minors, PCA has put up well above-average offensive numbers at every stop, earning a big league call-up not long after his 21st birthday. 

Offense

Starting with an upright stance before sinking into his backside as he loads, PCA uses his lower half well to tap into above average power despite a wiry frame. His athleticism is evident in the box, repeating his moves with ease, which helps him be on time frequently.

A lofty swing geared for pull side lift, PCA has one of the highest fly ball rates among prospects in the upper-minors. As his exit velocities have ticked up, his ability to consistently drive the ball in the air has resulted in more slug, but the loft has also resulted in a bit more whiff in the zone than desired.

After hitting 16 home runs at the lower levels in 2022, PCA matched that total in just 80 games at the upper levels in 2023. Though he has hit over .300 in the minors, the contact rates for PCA are lower than expected, running both a 75% zone contact rate and 68% overall contact rate in 2023. This may in part be due to his aggressive approach, as PCA does seem to have a knack for putting bat on ball, even in left on left matchups, and has kept his strikeout rates at a palatable figure.

With some refinement to his approach, PCA should develop into at least a fringe-average hitter with above average pop. Cutting down on his elevated chase (33%) would likely help his hit tool and overall offensive profile.

Defense/Speed

A plus runner with great instincts, PCA makes an impact both on the base paths and in the field with his legs. Defensively, he has a chance to be a perennial Gold Glover in center field. His reads are great, as are his jumps and there’s no doubt about his closing speed. A plus arm is just the icing on the cake for a guy who should command the outfield as well as anyone in the business once he gets to the big leagues.

On the base paths, PCA has already made his speed known, stealing 32 bases in 2022 and exceeding that total in 2023. There is probably some room for improvement in terms of picking the right spots to run and getting slightly better jumps from first base to aid efficiency, but the speedster should be a 20+ stolen base threat annually. 

Outlook

There was no doubt that PCA would be a solid, high-floor prospect thanks to his elite defensive potential and speed as a left handed-hitting center fielder. The question seemed to be, “how much upside does he have?”

As we are quickly learning, PCA has the ability to impact the baseball more than many expected and an All-Star ceiling is not outlandish. Even with nearly two lost seasons, he still made his MLB debut at 21 years old. It was not the prettiest of MLB debuts as he probably was a bit rushed and in need of a bit more seasoning in the box to make that leap to the big leagues.

PCA is a hard-nosed gamer who is capable of impacting the game in a myriad of ways. With his uptick in pop, elite defense and strong work ethic, the Cubs’ top prospect has further solidified his floor while raising his perceived ceiling. He will still needs to make strides with his swing decisions and contact frequency to realize his potential, but he already stacks up with just about any centerfielder at the highest level defensively.

21. Cade Horton – RHP – Chicago Cubs

Height/Weight: 6’1″, 211 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (7), 2022 (CHC) | ETA: 2025

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One of the pitching breakouts of the 2023 MiLB season, the Cubs’ first round pick in 2022 has flashed an electric fastball with a devastating slider to complement it.

Arsenal

A power arsenal headlined by a plus fastball and slider, Horton sits 95-97 MPH with his heater, touching 99 MPH on occasion. He picks up plenty of whiffs at the top of the zone with it thanks to the unique carry and cut the pitch features.

Horton’s sweepy slider hovers in the mid 80s with around 11 inches of horizontal break. His ability to consistently land it for a strike (65% strike rate) paired with the sharp, late break of the pitch gives him a second plus offering. From the start of the season to Horton being placed on the development list to manage his innings (13 starts), he held opponents to a .110 batting average while going to the pitch around 30% of the time.

The third offering is a curveball also in the mid 80s which Horton has done a good job differentiating from his slider shape wise since going pro. While it still features some horizontal movement (5 inches), it has much more vertical drop (9 inches).

Though he is not as consistent in landing it for a strike as his slider, Horton’s curveball has flashed the ability to be a legitimate put away pitch as well.

Rounding out the arsenal is a changeup in the upper 80s that he recently adjusted to a split grip. It’s a work in progress, but has flashed above average with impressive arm side fade. He only made a few starts with the new changeup grip prior to being temporarily shut down, but he showed the ability to slow the spin, averaging around 1,900 RPMs. With a bit more feel for it and the ability to get the pitch to spin a bit less, it could be an above average or better offering.

Outlook

A late bloomer on the pitching side of things as a two-way player who had to undergo Tommy John surgery early in his collegiate career, Horton only tossed 53 2/3 innings at Oklahoma, but showed enough in their College World Series run to sell the Cubs on his upside.

Early returns have Horton proving the Cubs right as the athletic right-hander has pounded the zone with an electric arsenal. With two plus pitches and a legitimate chance for four big league offerings, Horton has become one of the better pitching prospects in baseball.

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22. Andrew Painter – RHP – Philadelphia Phillies

Height/Weight: 6’7″, 220 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (13), 2021 (PHI) | ETA: 2025

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The top prep pitching prospect in the 2021 draft, Painter is a wunderkind who is tall enough to play forward on the hardwood, young enough to be a college sophomore, and yet is polished enough to pound the strike zone with multiple plus pitches. Tommy John surgery rains on yet another parade, as the best pitching prospect in baseball (when healthy) won’t be debuting until 2025, at the earliest.

Arsenal

Possessing a five pitch mix that rivals any pitching prospect in baseball, Painter has dominated hitters mostly with his 70 grade fastball that sits 95-97 MPH and has been clocked as high as 101 MPH. The pitch really explodes out of Painter’s hand with tons of life, boasting more than 18 inches of induced vertical break which has helps him generate some of the best in zone whiff rates in the minors.

Painter’s second plus pitch is his 81-83 MPH sweeping slider. The pitch tunnels well off of his riding fastball boasting late, sharp bite away from right-handers. While he mostly uses the slider against same-handed hitters, he has also showed plenty of comfort burying the pitch on the back leg of lefties and has continued to use it more frequently in early counts to steal strikes.

He also features a curveball in the upper 70s which flashes above average as well as a changeup in the upper 80s. He has rarely needed to use the pitch in the lower levels, but continued to use it more frequently as faced stiffer competition.

The changeup was a focus for Painter heading into last season, improving his command of the pitch as well as the improved arm side fade that it now features. Not only does the changeup give Painter a rare fourth speed, but it also gives him a fourth movement direction which is a tunneling nightmare for hitters.

Painter’s focus heading into 2023 was his new cutter, which he unveiled during spring training. The pitch sat 89-90 MPH and appeared to have the makings of another solid offering.

Outlook

The fact that Painter showed such great command of his elite stuff as a 6-foot-7 teenager is remarkable. His strike rate has hovered around 67% all season long while he continued to rely on his fastball less and use his strong secondaries more. It is also impressive how he has continued to add to and refine his arsenal as he has matured.

Painter is a rare talent who is likely to make his big league debut before he can legally buy a beer. It will be interesting to see how Painter’s surgically-reconstructed UCL may impact his overall stuff and command in the long term, but the Phillies could very well have their next generational ace in Painter as he continues to exceed even the loftiest of expectations.

23. Ethan Salas – C – San Diego Padres

Height/Weight: 6’2″, 190 | Bat/Throw: L/R | IFA: $5.8M, 2021 (SD) | ETA: 2026

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A wunderkind of a catching prospect, Salas signed for $5.8 million as the top prospect in the 2023 IFA class and was immediately thrusted into big league spring training action and by a Low-A assignment prior to his 17th birthday.

Offense

Salas starts upright with his weight slightly stacked on his back side before sinking a bit further into his back hip with minimal hand movement in his load. His pre-swing moves are slow and controlled, while his swing is quick and violent. Salas incorporates his lower half really well, producing plus bat speed and above average pop.

He already has a great feel for the zone and recognizes spin well, boasting a chase rate below 20% and numbers that have steadily improved against secondary stuff as he has compiled at bats. With an average exit velocity of 87 MPH and 90th percentile exit velocity of 101.5 MPH, Salas is already tapping into slightly above average power and has room for plenty more.

His feel to hit is extraordinary for his age and well above average in general. Both his 76% contact rate and 85% in-zone contact rate are strong figures that have improved as he has progressed through his first pro season.

Given where Salas is already at, it’s easy to imagine him developing into a plus hitter. Already flashing solid impact, Salas should grow into above average power as well. His offensive upside is immense.

Defense/Speed

It’s hard to remember a more advanced teenage catching prospect when it comes to receiving than Salas, reeling in the ball smoothly with elite hands. He moves well behind the dish making strides as a blocker in his first pro season.

The Padres brass has already raved about the maturity of Salas and the way he handles bullpens, which should translate into strong game calling. Already with a well above average arm, Salas should grow into a plus thrower who has the goods to be a plus defensive catcher as he hammers down the fundamentals.

Outlook

Potentially elite on both sides of the ball with the makeup to reinforce the ability, Salas not only has All-Star upside, but he should be able to climb through the minors quickly as a high-probability big leaguer. His upside is one of the best catchers in baseball at the highest level, but even for as advanced as he is for a 17-year-old, he of course has some ways to go. Given his age, present tools/production, projection and makeup, Salas has a strong case as the best catching prospect in the sport.

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24. Cole Young – SS – Seattle Mariners

Height/Weight: 6’0″, 180 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 1st Round (21) – 2022 (SEA) | ETA: 2025

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As polished of a prep prospect as you were going to find from the jump, Young has impressed with his feel to hit, advanced approach, and smooth actions in the field.

Offense

Young hit the ground running in pro ball thanks to his ability to consistently make contact and his patient approach. He has little pre-swing movement, a great feel for the barrel and engages his lower half well, allowing him to consistently be on time and spray line drives. He has demonstrated the ability to get to difficult pitches and is extremely adjustable with a path that enters the zone early and stays through it for a long time.

Since debuting in 2022, Young has walked more than he has struck out while getting on base at a .400 clip. While power will never be a big part of his game, he already uses the field so well for a young hitter and could grow into average pop.

Between his 15% chase rate and ability to hit with two strikes, Young should be a consistent threat to get on base with low strikeout totals. He already hits lefties pretty well while posting solid overall numbers against secondary stuff. Young is a high floor bat with on-base skills that should translate as he climbs and potentially enough power to hit 10-15 homers.

Defense/Speed

A smooth defender with great actions and footwork, Young is already an extremely reliable defender. While his arm is average, his instincts and quick feet help him extend his range. Just 19 years old at season’s start, Young could make some gains with his arm strength as he matures physically, which could make him a plus defender at short. Regardless, he has a great chance of sticking there.

An above average runner, Young has the speed to be a factor on the base paths and has been a willing base stealer at the lower levels thus far.

Outlook

Viewed as one of the “safer” prep prospects in the 2022 draft, Young has appeared to be just that in the early goings of his professional career. Between his feel to hit and approach, it is not hard to believe in Young’s bat. Add in his solid tools across the board, great baseball instincts and the potential for average power and there is an above average big league shortstop to dream on here.

25. Matt Shaw – 2B – Chicago Cubs

Height/Weight: 5’11″, 185 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (13), 2023 (CHC) | ETA: 2025

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A sound offensive profile with a strong track record of hitting through college and on the Cape, Shaw was viewed as high-floor college bat with some thump, but his feel to hit and athleticism really stood out in his pro debut, catapulting him into the Cubs plans.

Offense

Starting slightly closed with a leg kick that varies in size, Shaw has no problem timing up the move with the athleticism to consistently repeat it. When he’s in advantage counts, Shaw will feature a sizable leg kick and let it eat, but when he is behind in the count or simply feels a bit rushed at the plate, he will minimize his stride to see the ball earlier and simplify.

Not every player can have that level of adjustability pitch to pitch, but Shaw has had no trouble with it against the best competition in college, as well as in his early days at the professional level. He makes plenty of contact, projecting as an above average hitter with flashes of plus power. In his 38 pro games in 2023, Shaw posted a 90th percentile exit velocity of 106.5 mph.

His path is more geared for line drives, aiding his high contact rates, but with how hard he hits the baseball, he should still be able to tap into above average game power. Around 20-25 home runs with plenty of doubles could be attainable.

An aggressive hitter, it will be interesting to see if Shaw’s somewhat high chase rates catch up to him at the upper levels, but he hedges that with great bat to ball skills and a strong track record.

Defense/Speed

Drafted as a shortstop, the Cubs have started to transition Shaw to third base. He has seen plenty of reps at second base as well, but with the way he is swinging the bat, the Cubs appear to view him as a big league option sooner rather than later with third base open.

His fringy arm leaves a bit to be desired, though he has worked hard to improve in that department and looked more comfortable firing the ball across the diamond with carry at Cubs camp. A plus runner, Shaw swiped 15 bags on 18 tries in his first 38 pro games. He should add at least some value in that department.

Outlook

Already with well above average hit and power, Shaw is a high-floor bat with sneaky athleticism. He will likely need to improve his approach some once he faces upper-level pitching to achieve his ceiling, though his ability to make contact on pitches outside of the zone hedges perceived issues with aggressiveness. Shaw could blossom into a hard-hitting, high contact bat similar to Yandy Diaz, but with more defensive upside and much more athleticism.

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26. Max Clark – OF – Detroit Tigers

Height/Weight: 6’1″, 195 | Bat/Throw: L/L | 1st Round (3), 2023 (DET) | ETA: 2027

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A superb athlete who gets the most out of his frame, Clark flies, has a rocket for an arm and makes plenty of contact.

Offense

Starting with a wide, crouched stance, Clark boasts impressive hip mobility and gets himself into a powerful hitting position with a weight shift into his back hip and minimal stride. His twitch, wiry strength and athleticism help him produce plus bat speed with ease. He made some tweaks to his set up and swing after his pro debut, incorporating a more pronounced leg kick with his hands in a higher position and his bat at a flatter angle.

Clark is compact and quick to the ball, helping him see the ball longer and make good swing decisions. His barrel enters the zone early and seems to stay for a long time, helping him make plenty of contact. Clark’s swing is more geared for line drives, helping him get to high-carry fastballs at the top of the zone, but like many good left-handed hitters, he can really drive balls at the bottom of the zone.

Between his quickness to the ball, simple moves and feel for the barrel, it’s easy to see a potential plus hit tool for Clark. He already flashed exit velocities of 105 MPH on a home run in his first week at the Tigers’ complex, but the jury is still out on how much power he will ultimately hit for. What is not debatable is the fact that there is gap to gap power for Clark at the very least.

Defense/Speed

A plus plus runner with a strong arm, Clark has the tools to be a superb defender in centerfield. He tracks balls well and has an excellent first step. Running up to 94 MPH on the mound in high school, Clark easily boasts a plus arm. With his football background and ability to get to his top speed quickly, Clark should be a menace on the bases as well.

Outlook

It’s rare to find a prep prospect as athletic as Clark is while still having the polish that he has shown in the box. It will be interesting to see if his adjustments help him create a bit more loft and impact. Already with a good feel for the barrel and an advanced approach, increased power output could really have Clark flirting with the five tool player label. Clark one of the most exciting young outfield prospects in the game, but his present abilities make him a high probability big leaguer relative to his peers.

27. Spencer Jones – OF – New York Yankees

Height/Weight: 6’7″, 225 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 1st Round (22), 2022 (NYY) | ETA: 2025

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Huge power potential blended with exceptional athleticism for a 6-foot-7 outfielder make Jones a project worth dreaming about.

Offense

Jones starts upright and slightly open with his hands resting close to his slot, helping him minimize his pre-swing movement. Because he is so big and powerful, Jones does not require much effort to do damage. His setup putting him near his launch position has helped him be on time and control his long levers.

With his lack of negative move, there’s an added emphasis on being able to hold his back hip through launch which has become a bit of a challenge for him against professional off speed. When Jones holds his base, he puts up exit velocities over 110 MPH with relative ease and even when he is out on his front foot a bit, he is capable of producing major impact with a “B swing”.

Jones has been on his front foot far too often as a pro, causing him to swing over secondary stuff and rollover too often. The overall contact rate for Jones is not bad (72%), providing hope that he can hit enough, especially as his plate discipline continues to improve.

Even if the hit tool is fringy, Jones’ plus plus power could make him a middle of the order masher with added emphasis on his developing ability to work free passes. Jones adjusted his bat position slightly ahead of 2024 Spring Training and though it was a small sample, the tweak seemed to help him keep the bat in the zone longer. The contact skills have progressed as Jones has compiled at bats, though he will need to drive the ball in the air more consistently to tap into his massive power ceiling.

Defense/Speed

An impressive athlete in just about every way, Jones posts above-average run times and ran his fastball up to 94 MPH when he was a pitching prospect in high school. Jones has since had a couple elbow issues, which could impact his arm strength some, but he should grade out as above-average in that department at the very least.

Jones moves well for his size covering a lot of ground with his long strides. He consistently posts above-average run times and has a chance to stick in center field if he can continue to get more comfortable with his reads and routes. He is not afraid to steal bases and should be a threat on the bases. He swiped 43 bags on 55 tries in 2023.

Outlook

There’s not much precedent for a prospect like Jones. The hesitance around such a profile caused James Wood of the Nationals to slip to the second round of the 2021 MLB Draft and Spencer Jones to “fall” to the Yankees at 22nd overall .

While there may be a bit more whiff than expected in the early going, it’s important to note that Jones entered 2023 having only played 159 games since his freshman year of college, and that is including the Cape Cod League.

The 2023 season was not a bad one for Jones, but it also was a battle for him at times. Considering his minimal reps relative to just about any first round bat, slightly above average offensive numbers at High-A and Double-A in his first full pro season did not hurt his case at all, even with a strikeout rate of 29%. Following that up with a very strong showing in Spring Training only added to the intrigue heading into 2024.

Acknowledging the risk involved, there is All-Star upside to dream on with Jones as a monster-sized power threat who moves way better than he should in center and he showed that he can make a fair amount of contact. An improved approach and more consistent elevation could make Jones one of the most dynamic prospects in baseball.

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28. Adael Amador – 2B – Colorado Rockies

Height/Weight: 6’0″, 190 | Bat/Throw: S/R | IFA: $1.5M – 2019 (COL) | ETA: 2025

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A switch hitter who also happens to be one of the best bat-to-ball prospects in the Minor Leagues, Amador boasts sneaky power as well, making him a potentially dynamic top-of-the-order threat.

Offense

Amador is a polished hitter who repeats his moves well with great timing. From the left side, Amador utilizes a gathering leg kick in tandem with a rhythmic hand load with impressive control. The way he is able to duplicate his swings and approaches at-bats is reminiscent of a big league veteran.

From the right side, Amador’s lower half is a bit less involved, resulting in a little less power output. Amador makes up for it with elite bat-to-ball skills and low chase rates. You’ll see Amador use his leverage counts to swing for more more frequently from the left side, but he is adept to adjusting within at-bats and catering his approach to the situation.

From the left-side, Amador is a plus-plus hitter, running some of the best contact rates in the Minor Leagues (94% zone contact and 89% overall contact). For reference, the only qualified hitters at the MLB level with a zone contact rate above 93% in 2023 are Miami’s Luis Arraez and the Cubs’ Nick Madrigal. Of course, it’s much harder to make contact at those rates at the MLB level compared to High-A, but Amador already puts up higher exit velocities than the aforementioned two.

Amador has steadily put on some muscle since signing and has room for some a bit more strength as well. His 90th percentile exit velocity is just a hair above average at 102 MPH, but he will surprise evaluators (and opponents) with exit velocities as high as 110 MPH.

Amador’s sneaky exit velocities are more likely to translate into a higher BABIP and plenty of doubles as opposed to home runs, as his flat swing results in more line drives and hard hit ground balls (as well as elite contact rates). He could benefit from elevating a bit more, though he did a better job of that as the 2023 season progressed.

Most hitters who make as much contact as Amador tend to be aggressive at the plate, he is the opposite. Running a chase rate below 20%, he has walked more than he has struck out as a pro.

As a switch hitter with arguably the best hit-tool in all of the minor leagues who is on track to play his home games in one of baseball’s most spacious outfields, Amador could very well compete for batting titles while hitting the ball hard enough to avoid any kind of “slap hitter” label.

Defense/Speed

With relatively average defensive tools across the board, there’s a chance Amador could move to second base, where his defense would likely be more impactful. His actions have smoothed out a bit as he continues to rack up reps, but his arm is just average, as is his range. He could get by at shortstop, but Amador projects best at second base.

An average runner, Amador is probably not going to steal bases in bunches, but he is quick enough be a positive on the base paths overall and pick his spots to steal.

Outlook

Amador started his 2023 season a couple weeks late due to an injury before returning to post a .907 OPS through 54 High-A games. Unfortunately, he broke his hamate bone, sidelining him for two months and limiting him to just 10 Double-A games after his return.

The switch-hitter has a strong case as the best bat-to-ball prospect in the Minor Leagues with the potential for average power and a knack for drawing walks. Between his defensive skillset and the presence of Ezequiel Tovar at the big league level, a move to second base seems imminent. Regardless, Amador’s bat and approach should carry him up the Minor League ranks quicker than most of his peers, with the upside of becoming one of the best average/on base guys at the highest level.

29. Owen Caissie – OF – Chicago Cubs

Height/Weight: 6’4″, 220 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 2nd Round (45), 2020 (SD) | ETA: 2025

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A big left-handed hitter with some of the best raw power in the minors, Caissie has immense offensive upside while making some progress with his feel to hit.

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Offense

Standing at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, Caissie possesses some of the best raw power in the Minor Leagues with potentially more in the tank. Starting upright, Caissie sinks into his back side as he loads with a simple toe-tap for timing.

Caissie has found more consistency with his pre-swing moves as he has compiled at-bats, syncing his upper and lower half more effectively. This has not only helped him hit the ball harder, but also in the air more consistently, cutting his ground ball rate by nearly 10% while seeing his HR/FB rate jump from 12% to 25%. More fly balls and a larger percentage of those fly balls leaving the yard is of course what the Cubs want to see from Caissie.

When everything is in sync for Caissie, you can see flashes of a potentially special power bat. His long levers which help him create his massive power can also result in a bit too much whiff, but the 21-year-old consistently cut down the swing and miss as the Double-A season progressed (and the tacked baseballs were taken out of circulation of the Southern League). 

His average exit velocity of 94 MPH would rank among the top 15 in Major League Baseball, and his 90th percentile exit velocity of 110 MPH is one of the best figures in the entire Minor Leagues. There is foul pole-to-foul pole power potential for Caissie, who may have even more pop in the tank.

Defense/Speed

Caissie moves well for his size, but his limited experience in the outfield heading into 2022 was evident in his reads and routes. A plus plus arm and more than enough athleticism to be passable in a corner outfield spot, there is plenty of reason to believe that Caissie can develop into at least an average defender or better.

Caissie mentioned in our interview with him on “The Call Up” that one of his offseason focuses heading into 2023 was to gain speed and explosiveness.

Outlook

Already putting on shows with his majestic batting practice homers, Caissie’s big-time power has started to make its way into games more as he gets at-bats under his belt. Despite the whiff concerns, Caissie has handled challenging assignments as one of the younger hitters at each stop. He really enjoyed a coming out party in Double-A, pacing the league in homers as a 20/21-year-old and inspiring more belief that he can tap into his 30+ homer upside. 

Read More: Owen Caissie is Blossoming Into an Elite Power-Hitting Prospec

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30. Marcelo Mayer – SS – Boston Red Sox

Height/Weight: 6’3″, 190 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 1st Round (4), 2021 (BOS) | ETA: 2025

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A well-rounded game with exciting potential in the batter’s box, Mayer has already shown a decent feel to hit and staying power at shortstop with still plenty of physical projection.

Offense

A sweet left-handed swing with a ton of whip, Mayer hit the ball hard and can spray it all over. Starting with his weight slightly stacked on his back leg, Mayer’s load features a pronounced barrel tip, which can disrupt his timing a bit.

With the bat starting flat to completely vertical when slotted, it adds another move to get it back flat to enter the zone. He was able to get away with this move more at the lower levels because of his feel for the stick and improved bat speed, but it has presented some challenges in Double-A.

While there is more room to fill out for Mayer, he is already tapping into above average raw power with a 90th percentile exit velocity of nearly 105 MPH and a max of 112 MPH. There’s some zone whiff for Mayer as his swing can get long on him at times, but that very well could go hand-in-hand with his pre-swing moves.

His long levers help him drive the ball with authority to all fields with carry. Already producing a bit more thump than expected, Mayer is a better hitter than his Double-A numbers would indicate. With some cleaning up of his pre-swing moves, he can develop into an average hitter with plus juice.

Defense/Speed

Though not a great runner, Mayer moves his feet well at shortstop and has all of the goods to be a plus defender there. A plus arm, soft hands, good footwork and clean actions help Mayer look silky smooth at short. Though he’s not the most incredible athlete, Mayer is able to make difficult plays look easy thanks to his instincts and impressive ability to throw from different slots.

Outlook

It was a great first full season for Mayer in just about every aspect last year. The 20-year-old produced impressive offensive numbers between Low-A and High-A while providing reason to believe that he can stick at shortstop long-term.

2023 started well for Mayer before stalling out in Double-A as one of the younger position players at the level. As he refines his aggressive approach and pre-swing moves a bit, he has a chance to develop into an exciting shortstop who can impact the game both offensively and defensively.

31. Jeferson Quero – C – Milwaukee Brewers

Height/Weight: 6’0″, 210 | Bat/Throw: R/R | IFA: $200K, 2019 (MIL) | ETA: 2024

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An impressive defensive catcher with intriguing offensive tools, Quero’s success in both facets of the game at Double-A as 20 years old solidified him as one of the best catching prospects in the game.

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Offense

Using a rhythmic leg kick that precedes a short, flat swing, Quero repeats his moves well and produces a ton of line drives. Quero is an aggressive hitter, but drives the ball to all fields well and is able to get to pitches in difficult locations.

Like many young hitters with a solid feel to hit, Quero can give away at bats by taking “B-swings” at pitcher’s pitches early in counts. As the season has progressed, he has slowly cut down his chase rate but his lack of approach caught up to him, struggling over the final couple months of the season. Possessing a good feel for the barrel, Quero makes plenty of contact and projects as an above average hitter if can continue to rein in his high swing rate. 

Quero produced strong exit velocities in 2023, flashing plus raw pop that he started to tap into more consistently. For such an aggressive hitter, Quero identifies spin well and puts good swings on secondary stuff for a younger player at his level.

If Quero can continue to refine his approach, he could develop into an exciting blend of well-above average hit and power at the plate. 

Defense/Speed

Viewed as a glove-first catcher because of his athleticism and maturity/energy behind the dish, Quero earns high marks for the way he commands games and works with pitchers. Quero blocks and receives well while boasting a plus arm behind the dish. His defensive skillset, paired with the intangibles have Quero looking like a potential plus defender behind the dish.

Outlook

A 21-year-old catcher with plus defensive tools and plenty of offensive upside Quero has blossomed into one of the best catching prospects in the game. Despite the Southern League using experimental baseballs that inflated strikeout rates some, Quero only whiffed 18% of the time in 2023 with above average offensive numbers.

Assuming Quero can continue to improve his plate discipline and game power, he has the goods to develop into an All-Star catcher.

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32. Robby Snelling – LHP – San Diego Padres

Height/Weight: 6’3″, 210 | Bat/Throw: R/L | 1st Round (39), 2022 (SDP) | ETA: 2025

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A top linebacker recruit in high school, Snelling is one of the most athletic pitchers you’ll find. His advanced pitchability and developing stuff have him rising quickly and earned him Just Baseball’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year honors.

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Arsenal

A good feel for three pitches, Snelling features a fastball, curveball and changeup that can all be above average. Starting with his fastball, Snelling sits 92-94 MPH, touching 96 MPH. The pitch features a decent amount of carry, averaging around 18 inches of induced vertical break.

Snelling’s slurvy breaking ball flashes plus, with two-plane break. He has a great feel for the pitch, landing it for a strike around 65% with the ability to manipulate it. As a result, Snelling is comfortable weaponizing it against both left-handed hitters and right-handed hitters if his changeup isn’t there.

The changeup sits 85-87 MPH with decent fade. It’s inconsistent for Snelling at this point, but flashes above average and induces a good amount of weak contact. If he can find a more consistent feel for his change, it could give him a third above average offering.

Outlook

An advanced prep arm, Snelling hit the ground running by dominating Low-A and High-A competition. His athleticism helps him repeat his delivery consistently, already boasting above average command with the potential for plus. In a conversation with Just Baseball, Snelling worked hard on his changeup following the 2023 season, feeling good about his progress he has made.

There’s already good shape to his fastball, but if Snelling sees an uptick in velocity, it could easily enter plus territory. His great feel for a good breaking ball and developing changeup have him looking like a high probability big league starter with the upside of a borderline No. 2 or No. 3.

33. Josue De Paula – OF – Los Angeles Dodgers

Height/Weight: 6’2″, 175 | Bat/Throw: L/R | IFA: $1.5M, 2021 (LAD) | ETA: 2027

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One of the most polished hitters at the rookie level in 2022, De Paula has an extremely advanced swing and approach that have helped him make a smooth transition into full season ball as a 17/18-year-old.

Offense

De Paula has a simple set up and a slow, controlled and smooth load that helps him see the ball early and repeat his moves. The teenager’s swing is silky smooth, already controlling his body extremely well with a great feel for the barrel. Posting plus contact rates and low chase rates along with strong numbers against left-handed pitching, De Paula projects as a plus hitter or better.

He has already demonstrated the ability to hit the ball hard to all fields with plenty of room to add muscle to his somewhat long and slender frame. Though he’s extremely far away, there’s potential for a combination of plus hit and above average power as he matures.

Defense/Speed

An average runner, DePaula as quick enough to cover decent ground in a corner outfield spot, but his reads and instincts are still extremely raw. His above average arm profiles best in right field where he can become a passable defender with more reps. As De Paula fills out, he is unlikely to be much of a factor on the bases, but shouldn’t be a clogger.

Outlook

The most advanced prospect the Dodgers had at the rookie levels in 2022, De Paula is easily one of the most polished teenage hitters in the minors.

While the power has not totally translated into games yet, there have been plenty of flashes–especially to the pull-side–and it seems like it is only a matter of time until his fantastic feel to hit and projectable frame result in above average pop. With his present offensive talent and even more to dream on, De Paula has monster upside at the plate.

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34. Jacob Misiorowski – RHP – Milwaukee Brewers

Height/Weight: 6’7″, 200 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 2nd Round (149), 2021 (MIL) | ETA: 2025

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A tall, lanky, explosive right-hander, Misiorowski can already touch 102 MPH with his fastball with a pair of wipeout secondaries.

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Arsenal

You will primarily see the fastball, cutter, and curveball from Misiorowski, but he will mix in a low 90s changeup on occasion. The fastball is Misiorowksi’s best pitch, averaging 98 MPH while routinely touching triple digits. 

A pitch that has simply overpowered lower level hitters, the fastball features good carry at the top of the zone. Some of Misiorowski’s fastballs will flash more arm-side run than others, but that could be a result of his inconsistent delivery. Through his first 16 outings of 2023, opponents hit just .155 against the fastball with a 17% swinging strike rate.

The go-to out pitch for the big right-hander is his sweeping curve in the mid 80s. He has a decent feel for it, landing the pitch for a strike just shy of 60% of the time while holding opponents to an OPS below .400. The downward action of the pitch off of his lively fastball makes for a tunneling nightmare for hitters when Misiorowski is able to hit his spots. 

The third big whiff offering for Misiorowksi is his hard cutter in the low 90s. It is less consistent than his other two offerings due to inconsistent release and action. Sometimes it will break like a true cutter, and others will back up on him at 93-94 MPH. Whether it backs up to his arm side or cuts glove side, hitters have a really tough time with it when it’s around the zone, posting a ridiculous 22% swinging strike rate and 45% in-zone whiff rate. With even fringy command of the pitch, it could be an elite third offering. 

Rounding out the arsenal for Misiorowski is a hard changeup in the low 90s. The pitch is firm and inconsistent, but has flashed some potential. He has only thrown a handful this season.

Outlook

There’s clear reliever risk with a pitcher of Misiorwski’s profile and high effort delivery, but the stuff is good enough to give him frontline upside with the fall back option of one of baseball’s best relievers. The 21-year-old will need to clean up his mechanics and cut down the walk rate, but the upside is as tantalizing as any pitching prospect in the game. 

Boasting an elite fastball/breaking ball combination with a cutter that is not far off from giving him a third plus offering, Misiorowski has a rare arsenal from a rare frame.

35. Ricky Tiedemann – LHP – Toronto Blue Jays

Height/Weight: 6’4″, 220 | Bat/Throw: L/L | 3rd Round (85), TOR – 2021 | ETA: 2024

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Arsenal

Throwing from a low arm slot, Tiedemann generates a ton of arm speed allowing his already impressive arsenal to play up. The southpaw has three impressive offerings but the combination of his plus fastball and plus changeup has helped him carve up more experienced hitters.

Tiedemann’s fastball sits 94-96 MPH, topping at 99 MPH with plenty of ride and arm-side run. The pitch really jumps out of his hand from the low release point and gets on hitters quickly. Tiedemann maintains his arm speed really well with his above average changeup, making it really difficult to differentiate out of his hand and helping it play closer to plus. The change sits in the mid 80s with roughly 18 inches of arm-side fade.

His sweeper has started to emerge as his best out pitch in 2022 and he started to favor it far more than his changeup in 2023. The pitch features sharp break in the low 80s. Tiedemann gained confidence in the pitch as the year went on, dominating hitters to the tune of a .140 batting average with a swinging strike rate of 22% in 2023.

A big guy at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, Tiedemann can struggle at times to sync up his mechanics, but has has a decent feel for his entire arsenal giving him a chance for average command. His stuff is so good that he can succeed in a rotation with fringy command.

Outlook

Tiedemann easily could’ve debuted in 2023 had arm flare ups not taken him off course over the last couple seasons. It was extremely encouraging to see Tiedemann start to handle a more significant workload in the back half of 2023, even if the results were a bit more sporadic than 2022.

With three plus pitches from the left side, Tiedemann has the stuff to be a frontline arm if healthy. Unfortunately, health has been a challenge for the talented southpaw.

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36. Kyle Teel – C – Boston Red Sox

Height/Weight: 6’0″, 180 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 1st Round (14), 2023 (BOS) | ETA: 2025

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An athletic left-handed hitting catcher with the potential for a plus hit tool, the Red Sox may have found their future behind the dish.

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Offense

Starting with his hands high, Teel utilizes a leg kick that gets him well into his lower half as he loads his hands deep over his back foot. Pre-swing moves that require plenty of athleticism, he controls his body well with the barrel maneuverability to get to difficult pitches or still get a decent swing off when he is fooled.

Teel does not possess a ton of power, but he consistently gets his best swing off and has room to add more strength to his wiry frame. He has average power potential, but sprays plenty of line drives gap-to-gap, even if the home run output is somewhat subdued. There should still be around 15 home run potential in there for Teel with plenty of doubles.

Between his feel for the barrel and solid approach, Teel should be a steady on-base threat who is capable of slugging enough to complement his hit-first profile.

Defense/Speed

An extremely athletic catcher, Teel moves well behind the dish and has a rocket for an arm that helped him throw out a third of attempted base stealers in his collegiate career. His receiving has been viewed as one of the weaker aspects of his game, but clearly improved over his time at Virginia. Teel has above average defensive potential at catcher and has at least average wheels.

Outlook

The ceiling may not be as high for Teel as some other top 100 prospects, but with his feel to hit from the left side and staying power at a premium position, there’s a relatively short list of catching prospects who should be ranked ahead of him.

There’s a chance for plus hit, average power, and above average defense behind the dish for Teel with the ability to climb quickly.

37. Carson Williams – SS – Tampa Bay Rays

Height/Weight: 6’2″, 180 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (28), 2021 (TB) | ETA: 2025

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Williams has put his big tools on display since being drafted first round in 2021, giving Rays fans plenty to look forward to. He will need to cut down in the whiffs to reach his All-Star ceiling, though.

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Offense

Still with a wiry frame and room to fill out, Williams turned heads with his plus exit velocities as a 19-year-old in Low-A as well as his ability tap into game power.

Already reaching exit velocities as high as 112 MPH along with an impressive 90th percentile exit velocity of 107 MPH, it’s easy to see the plus power projection for Williams with even more pop in the tank.

Williams starts with an upright stance and relies on his natural bat speed and athleticism to produce thump, but his lack of lower half involvement leaves power on the table for him. You’ll see Williams often finish even his swing more upright than he started, which is a bit of a tell. His bat path is geared for lift, helping him produce plenty of home runs and extra base hits, but also leaving him susceptible to higher whiff figures. Williams hedges the whiff with a patient approach, but can toe the line of passiveness.

The fact that Williams was able to consistently produce the way he did even with the swing deficiencies is a testament his wiry strength and natural athleticism. His inconsistent base and steep swing likely contributed to more struggles against offspeed than he would like, but he has improved in that regard. Williams has handled velocity extremely well, mashing to an OPS right around 1.000 against fastballs.

With some tweaks, Williams could not only tap into plus or better power, but would likely find more success and consistency against breaking stuff as well. Even if the hit tool is fringy, his plus power and patient approach give him the ability to be a productive bat. He has 30 homers in the tank if he hits enough.

Defense/Speed

Williams is an above average runner with an easy plus arm. His actions are smooth and his feet are quick. He has the tendency to sit back on balls at times and rely on his arm strength, but he has plenty of range and a good internal clock. Williams has the goods to not only stick at short, but also be a plus defender there.

While he is not a burner, Williams is fast enough to be a factor on the base paths. He is relatively aggressive, but an inefficient base stealer. As he reaches the higher levels, Williams should be a threat for 10-15 bags.

Outlook

A plus defender a shortstop with big power potential is easy to get excited about. Williams will need to improve upon his ability to hit and recognize spin to reach his ceiling, but 30 home run upside with impact defense at short does not grow on trees. A high strikeout rate may just come with the territory, but Nolan Gorman-type production with plus defense on the left side of the infield is a profile any team in baseball would sign up for.

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38. Emmanuel Rodriguez – OF – Minnesota Twins

Height/Weight: 5’11″, 205 | Bat/Throw: L/L | IFA: $2.5M, 2019 (MIN) | ETA: 2025

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One of the most exciting power bats in the lower minors, Rodriguez has monster offensive upside. Injuries have slowed Rodriguez’s development a bit, but he put up great numbers in 99 High-A games during the 2023 season following a torrid second half.

Offense

Lightning quick bat speed and an explosive lower half helped Rodriguez put up elite exit velocities as a teenager and he has continued to grow into more juice as he has matured and gotten healthy. Rodriguez unfortunately tore his meniscus in June of his 2022 campaign, cutting his coming out party short with a 1.044 OPS in 47 games. The combination of plus power and patient approach allowed Rodriguez to feast on Low-A pitchers despite a 68% contact rate.

Rodriguez had to shake some rust off in the early going of his 2023 campaign, but really hit his stride once June rolled around. One of the most patient hitters in the Minor Leagues, Rodriguez found himself bordering on overly passive at points, taking pitches he could do damage on leading to far too many deep counts.

While still very selective, he started to pull the trigger a bit more, resulting in more production and less strikeouts. Still running a minuscule chase rate below 15%, Rodriguez takes free passes with the best of them and now is leveraging his advantage counts better.

Easy power and elite bat speed paired with his explosive lower half help Rodriguez produce big time exit velocities. His 90th percentile exit velocity of 108 MPH is the best mark in the Twins organization, with a max exit velocity of 117 MPH.

His elite bat speed has helped him pulverize fastballs to an OPS over 1.000 as a pro. Secondary stuff gave him plenty of trouble in 2022 and the early parts of 2023, but he has improved at both recognizing and staying back on secondaries as he has compiled more at-bats. His low chase rates on non-fastballs also hedges concern.

With borderline plus-plus raw power that he is starting to get into in games more consistently, an elite ability to draw walks and the potential for an average hit tool, Rodriguez has as much offensive upside to dream on as any prospect at the lower levels.

Defense/Speed

An average runner, Rodriguez covers enough ground to play a viable center field, but if he continues to fill out, he may move to a corner where his defense would potentially grade as above average with a plus arm. An average runner or slightly better, Rodriguez provides value on the base paths as an opportunistic base stealer.

Outlook

Top notch power potential and one of the most selective approaches in the Minor Leagues, Rodriguez will likely be a productive bat even if the hit tool does not come along as much as the Twins hope. There’s a Max Muncy-type of offensive profile to dream on, with a chance to stick in center field or play good defense in a corner.

39. Colton Cowser – OF – Baltimore Orioles

Height/Weight: 6’3″, 195 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 1st Round (5), 2021 (BAL) | ETA: 2024

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Solid tools across the board and the ability to play all three outfield spots make Cowser a higher floor prospect despite an uptick in whiff in 2023.

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Offense

With an upright stance from the left side and a simple swing geared for line drive contact, Cowser’s limited movement allows him to be on time and repeat his swing. A great athlete, Cowser’s lower half adjustability and impressive feel for the barrel help him put good swings on tough pitches and use the whole field.

One of the most polished hitters in the 2021 draft, some scouts wondered how much power would be in the tank for Cowser with a swing that is more geared for line drives. Cowser has tapped into a reasonable amount of power as a pro launching 38 homes in 258 Minor League games heading into 2024.

With a 90th percentile EV of 105 MPH, Cowser’s raw power is comfortably above average, but his path may ultimately keep him limited to just average game power.

The added power has come with a bit more whiff than expected, but Cowser hedges that with a great approach. Just a 17% chase rate has helped Cowser walk at a 17% clip as a pro, and his natural feel to hit still shines through. Cowser has had to adjust to aggressive assignments and should settle into a strikeout rate closer to 20% than 30%.

A key area where Cowser improved drastically from 2022 to 2023 is left-on-left match ups. After producing an OPS of .616 against lefties in his first full pro season, he upped it to .754 including his MLB debut.

There appeared to be an effort to lift the ball more consistently in the second half of his 2023 campaign, which may have contributed to Cowser’s uptick in whiff. If he can find a middle ground, there’s a decent blend of hit and power to look forward to with the ability to draw free passes.

Defense/Speed

An above-average runner, Cowser covers plenty of ground in center field with long strides and solid closing speed. He has seen action in all three outfield spots, but the majority of Cowser’s starts came in center in 2023. Solid reads and instincts along with an above average arm give him a good chance to stick in center, but if he moves to a corner he could profile as a fringe plus defender.

Cowser stole plenty of bases in the lower levels, but struggled to find the same success in Double and Triple-A. He adds value on the bases, though will probably never be more than the occasional base stealer.

Outlook

A frustrating MLB debut and tweaks to try to get back there likely bled into Cowser’s final two months of the season at Triple-A where he went through what was the worst stretch of his pro career. Through much longer Minor League stretches, he has looked like an above average hitter with at least average impact.

He made some tweaks to his set up during the offseason which appear to be aiding his ability to engage his lower half and hold his back hip through a limited Spring Training sample.

Good speed and the ability to play all three outfield spots helps Cowser’s profile plenty. Even if the hit tool trends closer to average as he tries to unlock more game power, Cowser’s consistently strong walk rates should help bolster the OBP. He still projects as an above average everyday outfielder capable of playing a solid center field.

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40. Jett Williams – SS – New York Mets

Height/Weight: 5’8″, 180 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (14) – 2022 (NYM) | ETA: 2025

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Compact but explosive, Williams is a great athlete with more impact than his frame would suggest. His polish at the plate helped him make quick work of the lower levels.

Offense

A relaxed, narrow setup, Williams uses a decent-sized leg kick to gather into his back hip, but controls his lower half well. Despite his smaller frame, Williams is strong with a powerful lower-half, using the ground well to create power.

Between his lower half control and minimal movement with his hand load, Williams is consistently on time and makes elite swing decisions. He is one of the most patient hitters in the Minor Leagues, running a chase rate of just 12% in 2023.

Producing average exit velocities, Williams consistently drives the ball in the air with good carry (35% ground ball rate), giving him a chance to hit for average game power. Nothing jumps off of the page with Williams offensively, but he is solid across the board and gets the most out of his tools with his elite feel for the strike zone and overall knack for hitting.

Defense/Speed

An easy plus runner, Williams is a phenomenal athlete who the Mets have already played at shortstop, second base, and center field. He could become a passable defender at shortstop, having cleaned up his his footwork some since entering pro ball, but his actions still leave a bit to be desired.

Williams has the fall back of second base where he should be an above average defender, though he has also seen some action in centerfield where his great speed and good arm would profile well. Aggressive on the bases, Williams swiped 45 bags on 52 tries in the 2023 season.

Outlook

It’s easy to see why the Mets are so excited about their 2022 first round selection. He combines a high-floor offensive profile with dynamic athleticism and just enough impact to provide exciting upside.

A sure thing to be a consistent on-base threat, he and Termarr Johnson became the first teenagers since 2005 to walk 100 times in a Minor League season. Williams could provide value with the glove at second base or even in centerfield if he gets more reps out there. A well-rounded profile, he seems like a relatively safe bet to be a good big league regular.

41. Curtis Mead – 3B – Tampa Bay Rays

Height/Weight: 6’2″, 175 | Bat/Throw: R/R | IFA: $200K – 2018 (PHI) | ETA: 2024

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A bat-first infielder with a great feel to hit and strong exit velocities, Mead missed a large chunk of the 2023 season due to injury, but made up for lost time by putting up big numbers in Durham immediately upon his return.

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Offense

Formerly starting from an extremely upright setup, Mead is still relatively tall in his stance but is more bent at the knees. Mead has always featured a smooth swing with a lower half that works extremely well.

The result is a barrel path that lives in the zone for a long time and allows him to drive balls to all fields with relative ease. Mead has already flashed plus exit velocities, with a 90th percentile exit velocity of 106 MPH and max exit velocity of 111 MPH.

A doubles machine due to his all-fields approach and swing that is geared for hard line drives, Mead smacked 94 doubles through his first 275 pro games across every level. Mead’s body control and bat-to-ball skills combined with his strong EVs should result in a high batting average and plenty of extra base hits even if the game power is closer to average.

A patient hitter who consistently makes good swing decisions, Mead’s ability to get on base should also help keep him strong in the OPS department. He has punched out less than 16% of the time in his Minor League career.

Defense/Speed

While not especially flashy or athletic, Mead’s hands and instincts should make him a passable defender at either third or second base. Mead’s below average arm is stretched thin at third base, though he has worked hard to gain arm strength and has held his own at the position.

Mead has improved his footwork at both third base and second base, providing belief that he can fight off a move to first and be somewhat of a versatile infielder for the Rays, even if the defense isn’t particularly great.

Outlook

Mead’s advanced approach and swing give him a chance at becoming a plus hitter at the highest level with 15-20 homers, plenty of doubles and a knack for getting on base.

Though he has the offensive skill-set of an above average regular, the right-handed hitter has dismantled lefties as a pro and has a strong floor as a platoon bat who can move all over the infield. Mead has provided plenty of reason to believe he can be more than that.

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42. Xavier Isaac – 1B – Tampa Bay Rays

Height/Weight: 6’4″, 240 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 1st Round (29), 2022 (TB) | ETA: 2025

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A big, left handed power bat with a good feel for the barrel, Isaac has the potential to be an offensive force.

Offense

Starting slightly open with his weight slightly favoring his back side, Isaac uses an early and slow load to get himself into a powerful launch position. He already uses his lower half and controls his body exceptionally for a 6-foot-4 teenager.

Not only does his advanced feel for his body help him consistently get powerful swings off, but when he is a bit out front or fooled, his “B” swings pack a punch as well. Isaac has displayed the ability to uncork 113 MPH home runs to his pull side, as well as shoot a ball the other way for a base hit.

With a 90th percentile exit velocity of 108 MPH, Isaac already produces plus plus exit velocities with room for more. His patient approach (22% chase) has helped him walk at a 15% clip providing optimism that he can sustain his high on base percentages as he pushes towards more challenges levels.

The potential for an above average feed to hit with big time power to all fields, Isaac has the offensive potential to be a middle-of-the-order masher for a first division team.

Defense/Speed

Probably a better athlete than he gets credit for, Isaac is a shaky defender at first base, but does have the natural ability to develop into an average defender. He moves his feet pretty well for his size, swiping 12 bags on 12 tries in 2023.

Outlook

Isaac has the potential to develop into a middle-of-the-order masher at the highest level. Not only does he posses as much power potential as just about any prospect in baseball, but he boasts a natural feel to hit that most players his size lack. Isaac’s stock should continue to fly with plenty of similarities to Triston Casas.

43. Dalton Rushing – C – Los Angeles Dodgers

Height/Weight: 6’1″, 220 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 2nd Round (40), 2022 (LAD) | ETA: 2025

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Blocked by Henry Davis at Louisville his first two seasons, Rushing tore up the Cape Cod League before mashing to an OPS of 1.156 his junior season. It’s been more of the same for Rushing at the lower levels, putting up strong offensive numbers since being drafted.

Check out our interview with Dalton Rushing!

Offense

Rushing starts with a slightly open stance and a smooth leg kick to get into his back side. He controls his body extremely well, allowing him to consistently be on time with his compact swing. Rushing has shorter levers, but generates plenty of bat speed and has already flashed exit velocities as high as 110 MPH with a 90th percentile exit velocity of 105 MPH in 2023.

A patient hitter with a phenomenal feel for the strike zone, Rushing walked as much as he struck out both at the collegiate and professional levels last year. His smooth and repeatable swing helped him post strong numbers left-on-left as well. Running a chase rate around 15%, Rushing should be a consistent on-base threat.

It’s pretty hard to poke a hole in Rushing’s offensive game, and based on the bat alone, he could climb through the minors quickly. 

Defense/Speed

Though he is a raw catcher, Rushing has already shown signs of being a decent receiver and blocker. This isn’t a total surprise, as he is a good athlete for a catcher with average wheels. His catch and throw skills are solid, but there’s times where things just seem a bit quick for him.

After all, it is worth noting that dating back to his freshman year of college, Rushing had only caught around 70 total games going into 2023. With his athleticism and skill set, Rushing has a chance to develop into an average catcher. 

Outlook

The bat will lead the way for Rushing, as he is athletic enough to potentially move to first base or corner outfield if he does not develop behind the dish. That said, Rushing still has a chance of sticking at catcher. Offensively, Rushing is a high-floor hitter who can develop into a high OBP guy capable of launching around 20-25 homers. 

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44. Jared Jones – RHP – Pittsburgh Pirates

Height/Weight: 6’0″, 180 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 2nd Round (44), 2020 (PIT) | ETA: 2024

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A fastball/slider combination that could probably fit into an MLB bullpen tomorrow, Jones is an average third pitch away from a strong starter’s outlook.

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Arsenal

Starting with a fastball that sits 96-98 MPH and touching triple digits from a low release point, Jones often gets ahead of hitters and racks up whiffs with the pitch. It really explodes out of his hand, getting on hitters quickly and playing well at the top of the zone. Jones has picked up a ridiculous 17% swinging strike rate and 30% in-zone whiff rate on the pitch in 2023.

The second plus pitch for Jones is his cutterish slider that sits anywhere from 89-92 MPH. Some will feature more horizontal break, while others have more of a gyro shape (more downward break). The sharpness and action of the pitch help its effectiveness against both lefties and righties. Opponents have hit well below the Mendoza line against the pitch in 2023.

The third pitch is a work in progress for Jones. Both his changeup and curveball are inconsistent, but he has still mixed each in around 10% of the time. Both pitches are below average and mostly used against lefties, but Jones’ changeup looks like it has a better chance of becoming a viable third offering at this point.

Outlook

Pretty good command of two plus pitches that have both ticked up in 2023 helped Jones break out at the upper levels in his age-21 season. He will either need to develop plus command of his fastball and slider or see one of his changeup or curveball emerge as a viable offering to reach his No. 3 upside, but the young righty continues to trend in the right direction.

45. Dylan Lesko – RHP – San Diego Padres

Height/Weight: 6’2″, 195 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (15), 2022 (SDP) | ETA: 2026

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An electric right-hander who “fell” to 15th overall in 2022 due to Tommy John surgery in his senior year of high school, Lesko returned to action in the second half of last season, reminding many why he was the top prep arm in his class. He also added a slider in the offseason.

Arsenal

Lesko has the ability to dominate hitters with high fastball usage thanks to its mid 90s velocity and incredible life. In his 2022 debut, his fastball averaged 20 inches of induced vertical break, often ripping fastballs with 22 inches or more of carry.

The exploding life on his fastball helped him pick up big in-zone whiff numbers and a swinging strike rate of 14%. Averaging right around 94-95 MPH, Lesko can touch 98 MPH.

Working off of his lively fastball is a plus changeup with late arm side run in the upper 70s. It almost seems to stop mid-air with the way that Lesko is able to maintain his arm speed despite roughly 15 MPH of separation. The late fade makes it that much tougher for hitters as well.

With more consistent feel for the pitch, it would likely play like a 70 grade pitch, especially off of his high-carry heater.

The third pitch for Lesko is a big curveball in the low-to-mid 70s. The pitch hovers around 3,000 RPMs, but he really struggled to locate it in his pro debut and hardly needed it in high school. With so much break at a low velocity, it can be a bit easier for hitters to lay off of and more difficult for him to locate.

In a conversation with Just Baseball during the offseason, Lesko mentioned that he added a shorter, harder slider in the mid 80s. A cutterish slider, the pitch should be an easier pitch for him to locate and the right-hander said that he believes it can aid his feel for the curveball by bridging the large gap in velocities.

Outlook

A good athlete on the mound with a smooth delivery, Lesko was not an exception to the command woes that typically follow Tommy John surgery, however his track record of throwing strikes as an amateur and repeatable mechanics provide plenty of optimism that his command will at least return to above average.

With two plus or better pitches leading the way, Lesko has No. 2 upside with further development of his breaking balls and regained command. He has a chance to have a monster 2024 season.

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46. Colt Emerson – SS – Seattle Mariners

Height/Weight: 6’0″, 195 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 1st Round (22) – 2023 (SEA) | ETA: 2026

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One of the younger prep bats in the 2023 class, Emerson’s strong summer circuit and performance for Team USA helped him rise up draft boards. Similar to 2022 first rounder Cole Young, Emerson had no issue transitioning into pro ball straight from the prep ranks, standing out right away.

Offense

Emerson boasts a smooth swing from the left-side with a good feel for the barrel. He already uses his lower half well with a smooth gathering leg kick and keeps his weight back at launch pretty well.

Already flashing above average power with room for more in his frame, Emerson has the potential to produce at least average game power as he matures. He was one of the youngest players in the class at just 17 years old on draft day.

He has an extremely quick bat with the feel for the barrel to get too tough spots. A patient hitter, the combination of Emerson’s early load and launch quickness allow him to see the ball longer and make good decisions. He ran a chase rate just under 20% in his 28 pro games. There’s potential for a plus hit tool or better.

Defense/Speed

Nothing jumps off the page when it comes to Emerson’s tools, but he also has little to no holes to poke. He is a slightly above average runner with an above average arm and soft hands. His actions are smooth for a young prep shortstop and he is comfortable making throws from different angles. He is really comfortable going to his backhand, already showing the ability to steal hits in the hole with the arm strength to make the throw.

Outlook

Through eight games at the complex and 20 more at Low-A, Emerson was fantastic, hitting .391/.500/.555 with nearly as many walks as strikeouts. In four postseason games for Modesto, he picked up 11 hits, helping them to their first California League title.

How much power Emerson will hit for will ultimately determine his ceiling, but he is one of the higher floor high school prospects in the 2023 draft class with plenty in common with fellow Mariners first rounder Cole Young. He is a big name to watch in 2024.

47. Kyle Harrison – LHP – San Francisco Giants

Height/Weight: 6’2″, 200 | Bat/Throw: R/L | 3rd Round (85), 2020 (SF) | ETA: 2024

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In a 2020 MLB Draft dominated by college arms, the Giants were able to entice prep southpaw Kyle Harrison to forgo his UCLA commitment with a $2.5 million signing bonus. He has flown through the minors thanks to his dominant fastball, but has stalled in Triple-A due to some serious command challenges.

Arsenal 

An athletic pitcher with a tough, low release point, Harrison naturally makes for an extremely uncomfortable at bat, but his plus stuff makes things that much harder for opposing hitters. Harrison’s plus fastball is his best pitch. It sits 93-95 MPH, topping out at 98 MPH.

The pitch’s perceived velocity is closer to the upper-90s thanks to Harrison’s ridiculously low release height of 4.99 feet on his fastball and VAA of -4.0. Already difficult to pick up from his release point, Harrison’s fastball features run and sneaky ride. Harrison’s fastball has lost several inches of horizontal movement in 2023, but he did gain some extension and a half tick of velocity. It is still a double-plus pitch.

Harrison’s slider with two-plane break is his best secondary offering. It sat in the 81-83 range in 2022 with more sweep, but has been thrown harder in 2023 with more of a slurvy action. Harrison averaged 12 inches of horizontal break on his slider in 2022 while it has settled around 6 inches of horizontal last season. Previously looking like

After holding High-A and Double-A opponents to an OPS below .500 on the pitch in 2022, Harrison struggled to match the same success with the pitch at the upper levels and the big leagues, yielding an OPS over .800. A stark difference in competition surely impacted those numbers, but it seems as though the adjusted pitch shape did not help either.

Harrison’s changeup flashed average in 2022, but played up off of his fastball to make at-bats extremely difficult on opposite-handed hitters. The pitch did not perform well for him in 2023 and he cut his usage below 10% in favor of his cutter, especially against righties.

The pitch is more of a blend of a slider and cutter, sometimes blending with his other breaking ball. The short downward action on it makes it effective to opposite-handed hitters. It can be an average pitch.

Outlook

Once tracking as the best left-handed pitching prospect in baseball, Harrison took a bit of a step back with his command along with a puzzling change in breaking ball shape. Despite that, he still held his own at the big league level, proving that his fastball can overpower hitters at any level.

It will be interesting to see if Harrison tweaks his slider again or plays with a new changeup grip, but his 70 grade fastball and funky release give him a strong chance of surviving as a back end starter even if the secondaries are inconsistent.

Having made his MLB debut shortly after his 22nd birthday last season, Harrison is extremely young and still has plenty of time to develop his feel to pitch in an effort to reach his No. 2 ceiling. It’s likely he settles somewhere in the middle with flashes of brilliance flanked by frustrating volatility.

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48. Mick Abel – RHP – Philadelphia Phillies

Height/Weight: 6’5″, 195 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st round (15), 2020 (PHI) | ETA: 2024

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An electrifying arm with the potential for three plus or better pitches and a quality fourth, Abel has been held back from his sky-high ceiling by his lack of secondary command. He made some tweaks to his delivery ahead of the 2024 season that could result in the leap the Phillies have been waiting for from their former first round pick.

Arsenal

Abel’s arsenal has the potential to be frontline caliber. His fastball sits at 96-98 MPH, topping in the triple digits. The heater has some riding life to it and plays well at the top of the zone, generating an impressive 16% swinging strike rate.

Ahead of the 2024 season, the right-hander adjusted his delivery to allow it to work more effectively vertically. His release was previously more horizontal, resulting in more arm side movement on his fastball, negating some of the perceived ride. The pitch still performed extremely well, but now with more ride and extension, Abel’s fastball could settle closer to double plus territory.

Working off of the fastball for Abel is a plus curveball in the low 80s with good depth. Similar to his fastball, the adjustment in his release point has helped it operate more effectively north/south. He has eliminated some of the horizontal break that caused it to blend with his slider at times, which should allow it to tunnel more effectively off of the heater.

Because of its shape and sharp break, the pitch was Abel’s most effective secondary to both lefties and righties, who combined to hit below .100 against his curveball. The challenge for Abel has been consistently locating the offering for a strike.

Abel adjusted his changeup to now operate in the upper 80s rather than the low 90s while killing more spin. The separation in both the velocity and vertical movement perspective have it flashing plus. He almost exclusively threw the pitch to lefties in 2023.

Rounding out the arsenal is an average slider in the mid 80s that flashes a bit more. He exclusively threw it to righties in 2023, however the adjusted shape (more vertical break, slightly less horizontal) should make it a viable weapon to lefties as well.

Outlook

Consistently punching out batters at a near 30% clip as a pro, there is no doubting Abel’s pure stuff. His fastball reliance and inconsistent command has hurt him at points in the run prevention department, but the adjustments to his delivery and optimized pitch shapes could help him fill the zone up a bit more in addition to improved effectiveness.

If Abel can even get to average command, his stuff will give him a great chance of developing into an above average No. 3 starter or even a No. 2. It will come down to whether he can control his long arm action and repeat his delivery. Abel earns high marks for his makeup and work ethic and his adjustments between the 2023 and 2024 season are a prime example.

49. Victor Scott II – OF – St. Louis Cardinals

Height/Weight: 6’0″, 185 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 5th Round (157), 2022 (STL) | ETA: 2024

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A natural hitter, Scott has become far more polished as a pro from both a swing mechanics and approach standpoint, while his 80-grade wheels have made him one of the most electrifying players in the Minor Leagues both on the base paths and in center field.

Check out our interview with Victor Scott II

Offense

Scott simplified his setup during the 2023 season, starting more in his base with the bat rested on his shoulder. He sinks into his back side with almost no stride, just picking up his heel as he loads. As Scott explained on “The Call Up“, he felt as though his adjustments helped him get to the same launch position more consistently and see the ball earlier. This not only resulted in more contact, but more impact as well.

Over his final 60 games of 2023, Scott slashed .320/.369/.445 at Double-A Springfield before heading to the Arizona Fall League, where he produced an OPS of .805 while walking more than he struck out.

After making his adjustments a few months into the season, Scott ran a zone contact rate that hovered around 90% while boasting a lower chase rate than most contact-oriented hitters. He has an excellent feel for the strike zone and does not stray from his approach. Though the power is likely below average, Scott flashes fringy pop to his pull side and will look for the right pitch to do damage on in advantage counts.

Scott specifically struggled with changeups in 2023, often waving over them or seeing his swing break down. Though generally selective, Scott is more aggressive against heaters, which could play a part in his challenges against changeups. He should gain more comfort as he compiles at-bats and his ability to hit fastballs, sliders and left-handed pitching helps his outlook.

Scott projects as a plus hitter who can consistently put the ball in play and steal plenty of hits with his speed. There’s enough impact for mostly gap-to-gap power, but 10-15 home runs could be attainable.

Defense/Speed

One of the fastest runners in all of professional baseball, both of Scott’s parents ran track with his father recognized in the Morris Brown College Hall of Fame. Scott’s speed is evident both in center field and on the base paths. He boasts ridiculous closing speed on balls in the gap or shallow flares while looking plenty comfortable tracking straight over his head. With an average arm to go with his blazing speed and already good jumps/reads, Scott is easily a plus defender in center.

If you add his Arizona Fall League stint in 2023, Scott stole 112 bags in 155 games. During the regular season, he tied Chandler Simpson of the Rays for the lead in professional baseball with 94 stolen bases.

Outlook

While speed is the name of the game for Scott, he brings plenty more to the table with arguably the best hit tool in the Cardinals system, at least gap-to-gap power and great defense in center field. A higher floor prospect, Scott still provides plenty of upside as top-of-the-order bat capable of pacing the league in stolen bases.

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50. Andy Pages – OF – Los Angeles Dodgers

Height/Weight: 6’1″, 210 | Bat/Throw: R/R | IFA: $300K, 2017 (LAD) | ETA: 2024

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A torn labrum in his left shoulder put a halt to what was a an excellent start to the 2023 season for Pages, he looked to be completely back. He has put up big power numbers at every stop, with an impressive ability to consistently drive the ball in the air.

Offense

Pages starts upright and deploys a slow and controlled load that allows him to get into his back hip. A strong lower half and sneaky athleticism help Pages use the ground well to tap into plus power while repeating his moves well.

Pages has a swing geared for lifting the ball in the air to the pull-side. His homers are majestic, often as high as they are far and he is a patient hitter who has consistently posted strong walk rates at each level.

He utilizes the leverage in his swing consistently, rarely missing a hanging breaking ball or a fastball out over the plate. At worst, he will be able to annihilate mistake pitches in the big leagues once he gets there. 

One area where he could improve a bit is with hard stuff inside. Pages is a hitter who likes to get his hands extended and pitchers who can consistently locate their heater inside have given him some trouble. The challenge for pitchers is that if that fastball runs back over the middle, Pages will rarely miss it. Even with the bit of length to his swing, Pages makes plenty of contact and has a chance to be an average hitter with his plus game power as the calling card.

Defense/Speed

It takes Pages a while to get to his top speed but once he does, he’s an above-average runner. He posts average home to first times due to the time it takes him to get to top speed, but the speed plays a bit better in the outfield. As he has become more comfortable with his reads and routes, getting better jumps and covering more ground.

His profile is that of a right fielder, but in a pinch, he could likely play a passable center field thanks to his reads and 70 grade arm strength. He has above average defensive potential in right.

Outlook

After a massive year in High-A in 2021, Pages struggled to match the same level of consistency in Double-A, though he still turned in a solid campaign as a younger bat in the upper minors. He jumped out of the gate in his second Double-A stint to start the 2023 season, earning a promotion to Triple-A as a 22-year-old. Unfortunately, his injury came in his first Triple-A game, but he will almost surely start the season there next year.

Pages’ ability to consistently tap into game power as well as walk takes some pressure off of his fringy hit tool. There’s 30 home run upside if Pages can hit enough.

51. Brooks Lee – SS – Minnesota Twins

Height/Weight: 6’2″, 200 | Bat/Throw: S/R | 1st Round (8) – 2022 (MIN) | ETA: 2024

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Viewed by many as the safest bat in the 2022 draft class, the switch-hitting Lee has flown through the Minor League ranks on the back of his plus-plus hit tool.

Offense

When you watch Lee hit, it is easy to understand how he was so consistent through his three collegiate seasons at Cal Poly where he slashed .351/.426/.647. Lee’s swing from the left-side is as pretty as they come; it’s short, quick and repeatable with sneaky pull-side power. He also has a great feel for the barrel with the ability to get to tough pitches or shoot the ball through a hole when he is fooled.

His right-handed swing is a more mechanical and less fluid, but he still makes a fair amount of contact. Fortunately, the majority of his at-bats will come from the left side.

Lee has average power to his pull side and will pick his spots to try to do damage. While his average exit velocities are average, he has flashed a max of 109 MPH.

A zone contact rate just shy of 90% and overall contact rate of 79%, Lee is rarely going to punch out and will work a fair amount of free passes. He has the tendency to get very contact-oriented, hitting more balls into the ground than desired and perhaps taking a few too many “B” swings in early or even counts, but he has improved in that regard as he has become acclimated to pro ball.

Lee is a high probability big leaguer with the ability to hit for a high average with plenty of doubles. If he can push closer to 20 home runs instead of 10, that would of course elevate his ceiling, but Lee will likely land somewhere in the middle.

Defense/Speed

Fundamentally sound and instinctual, Lee is a consistent defender at shortstop. The added strength/weight has slowed Lee down a tick, giving him fringy range. He has a good arm and can make all of the throws as well as smooth actions, however he is likely to be closer to an average defender at the position. Though he should be able to play a good enough shortstop to stick, he profiles as an above average third baseman as well.

Outlook

Viewed as a high-level draft prospect dating back to his high school days, Lee elected to play for his father at Cal Poly where he raked for three seasons as well as on the Cape. It’s been more of the same for him in pro ball, solidifying what is one of the higher floors and stronger track records in the Minor Leagues. Lee may lack the tools to be a superstar, but he has a great chance of being an above average big leaguer.

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52. Kyle Manzardo – 1B – Cleveland Guardians

Height/Weight: 6’1″, 205 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 2nd Round (62), 2021 (TB) | ETA: 2024

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Fantastic contact skills paired with better exit velocities than his home run output may indicate, Manzardo is a high-probability big league bat who is trying to raise his ceiling.

Offense

Manzardo starts with his hands relaxed on his shoulder, using a toe tap for timing. A smooth swing with great plate coverage, his bat lives in the zone and he seems to barrel everything. The blend of whippy bat speed while living in the zone for so long helps Manzardo get to all types of pitches, posting a contact rate of 79% in 2023.

The left-handed hitter flashes plus power to his pull side and has worked to drive the ball with authority to all fields as he reached the upper levels. The effort to tap into more game power has made itself evident through a 2 mph jump in average exit velocity as well as similar gains in his 90th percentile exit velocity (104.5 mph).

Some tough batted ball luck and selling out for lift–he has the lowest ground ball rate of all qualified Triple-A hitters in 2023–may have negatively impacted his batting average, but he found more balance as the year progressed.

His fantastic feel to hit, great approach, and above average raw power already give Manzardo the floor of one of the safer bats in the Minor Leagues. Even with 20-25 home run power, he should be an above average regular, but there’s hope he can reach closer to 30 home runs at his peak with the progress he has made impact wise.

Defense/Speed

An average runner, Manzardo will not provide a ton of value with his legs or glove, but he should be an average defender or better at first base.

Outlook

The way Manzardo controls his at-bats, as well as the barrel, is impressive to watch. How much power he taps into will ultimately determine his ceiling, but even above average game power should be enough for him to be solid big league bat because of his well-rounded offensive game. Manzardo is a high probability regular who can carry the offensive weight of first base even if he is closer to 20 home runs than 30.

53. Heston Kjerstad – OF – Baltimore Orioles

Height/Weight: 6’3″, 205 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 1st Round (2), 2020 (BAL) | ETA: 2024

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The second overall pick in 2020, health issues delayed Kjerstad’s professional debut to 2022. He quickly made up for lost time by mashing across every level, including the Arizona Fall League. He has steadily minimized whiff while maximizing power.

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Offense

It appears as though Kjerstad has a lot of moving parts to his swing, but when you boil it down, his load and swing are repeatable for him. Kjerstad uses a loose, rotational bat waggle, similar to Houston’s Jeremy Peña, which helps him get slotted. His leg kick is sizable, but he starts it early and holds his back hip extremely well.

Kjerstad’s body control and hip mobility is impressive and allows him to not only generate power and lift, but also consistently repeat his swing. His 90th percentile exit velocity of 106 MPH and max of 114 MPH is in the plus territory and his ability to hit the ball in the air with consistency helps him get into his pop in games.

As he has gotten back into the swing of things, the contact rates have steadily improved to above average despite climbing levels relatively quickly to compensate for his two lost seasons.

In his first 50 games at Triple-A, Kjerstad ran a zone contact rate of 88% while punching out just 19% of the time.

One area where he could improve is his swing decisions and aggressiveness. A 35% chase rate is well above league-average and results in more weak contact than Kjerstad may like as he will at times expand the zone in advantage counts when he should be shrinking it.

Again, he missed a huge portion of his development, and has simply seen less professional pitches than just about anyone in Triple-A. The fact that Kjerstad is still running relatively high contact rates and low chase rates despite his aggressiveness is another indication of his feel for the barrel.

As his approach improves, he can become a comfortably above average hitter with a chance for plus game power.

Defense/Speed

Though he is a below average runner, Kjerstad moves well enough in the outfield to make the plays he needs to make and has a plus arm to supplement things. He has a true right fielder’s profile and should be an average defender there. 

Outlook

Few prospects have improved their outlook more than Heston Kjerstad over the last calendar year. He has leaped from a high strikeout rate in High-A (after a two-year layoff) and later getting more reps in the Arizona Fall League to demolishing the upper levels with an overall strikeout rate of just 17% in his first taste.

The fact that the power-hitting outfielder reached Triple-A in just over 100 professional games is remarkable, and he has continued to mature at the plate as he compiles more at-bats just one step away from the big leagues. Kjerstad is a high probability big league regular with the potential to be a middle-of-the-order threat.

54. Joey Ortiz – SS – Milwaukee Brewers

Height/Weight: 5’11″, 185 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 4th Round (108), 2019 (BAL) | ETA: 2024

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An impressive defender who makes a ton of contact, Ortiz is a well-rounded shortstop who has added some thump, but still puts the ball on the ground too frequently.

Offense

Ortiz starts with a slightly open and upright stance before getting into his back side with a controlled leg kick. He repeats the move well and will even cut down on the leg kick a bit with two strikes.

An athletic hitter, Ortiz controls his body well and makes a ton of contact with a flat swing that lives in the zone. His 88% zone contact rate was one of the better marks in the Orioles organization, and his spray charts show color foul line to foul line.

A shoulder injury hampered his swing a bit in the early parts of the 2022 season, but Ortiz went on to hit .347/.413/.610 over his final 70 games of the season between Double-A and Triple-A. Ortiz carried the momentum into 2023, seeing his average exit velocity jump by a whopping 6 MPH to 91 mph while his 90th percentile exit velocity rose to 106 MPH.

Though the exit velocities have jumped near the plus territory, it has resulted in more doubles for Ortiz rather than homers. His flat swing helps him post fantastic contact rates, but his average launch angle of 5 degrees makes it hard to leave the yard as much as other players with his EVs.

Ortiz’s feel for the barrel and control of his body helps him put up strong numbers against all types of pitches, posting an OPS above .800 against non-fastballs at the upper levels. His approach and swing decisions could improve a bit, but this is a common theme with plus hit tool prospects.

Much like the other aspects of his offensive game, Ortiz’s chase rate improved as the year went on. If he continues on his track, Ortiz is a high batting average bat who keeps the strikeouts low, hits plenty of doubles and mixes in around 15 homers.

Defense/Speed

A good athlete with excellent footwork, Ortiz is rangy and seems to always get his body in the right place to make a play. He is comfortable covering ground to his left and right and has the arm strength and adjustability to make throws from all angles. He is a plus defender who should have no problem providing value with the leather at short, but can also play all over the infield.

Though he’s not aggressive on the base paths, Ortiz is an above average runner and provides some value there.

Outlook

Ortiz’s defensive prowess and high floor bat have helped him leapfrog some exciting prospects in the Orioles system. While he is a bit on the older side as a 25-year-old, he is a high probability regular with enough value on both sides of the ball to be an above average big league shortstop if the bat translates. It seems like some improvements to his approach could be the final piece to making that happen.

55. Tommy Troy – SS – Arizona Diamondbacks

Height/Weight: 5’11″, 195 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (12), 2023 (ARI) | ETA: 2026

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A well-rounded offensive game with impressive athleticism, Troy is a complete player with a strong track record.

Offense

A slow, early load, Troy uses a smooth gathering leg kick to get slotted. He features above average bat speed and an explosive lover half that helps him produce above average power. Troy’s hands work really well, turning around velocity along with an ability to manipulate the barrel.

Troy produced elite contact rates at Stanford while flashing exit velocities as high as 113 MPH with metal. He can aggressive at times, expanding the zone with “B” swings in counts that he does not have to, which is relatively common for hitters with the bat to ball skills that Troy has.

With better swing decisions he should tap into more game power by leveraging his hitter’s counts to get into his pull side power. There’s potential for fringe-plus hit and above average power as he continues to trend in the right direction.

Defense/Speed

A plus runner, Troy is athletic and versatile in the infield, capable of playing solid defense at any spot. His average arm is probably stretched thin at shortstop but he is capable there and should receive a fair amount of looks from the D-backs at the position. Troy profiles best at second base long term.

After stealing just 9 bags in his first two collegiate seasons, Troy swiped 17 on 20 tries in his junior year and has shown much of the same comfort on the bases in the pros.

Outlook

Athletic and versatile with the potential for an exciting offensive profile, Troy was a slam dunk top 15 pick in the 2023 draft as a high-floor college bat who still provides an exciting ceiling. Though he can get away with an elevated ground ball rate because of his feel to hit, above average exit velocities and speed, Troy will need to drive the ball in the air a bit more to reach his offensive ceiling. It’s early, but that ceiling could be a high batting average with around 20 homers.

56. AJ Smith-Shawver – RHP – Atlanta Braves

Height/Weight: 6’3″, 205 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 7th Round (217), 2021 (ATL) | ETA: 2024

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An athletic right-hander with electric stuff, the Braves signed Smith-Shawver for an over-slot $1 million to forgo his two-way commitment to Texas Tech. After just 77 Minor League innings between the Complex and Low-A prior to 2023, Smith-Shawver rocketed to an MLB debut on June 4th of this season. He struggled with his command at the highest level, but offers plenty of promise.

Arsenal

Smith-Shawver diced through lower level competition with his lively fastball and sharp slider. The fastball sits 95-97 mph, touching 99 mph with decent carry. Smith-Shawver did not quite overpower big league hitters with his fastball to the same degree as he had the tendency to miss over the middle, but the heater has a chance to be plus.

Smith-Shawver’s best secondary offering is his mid 80s slider with cutterish, late break. He has a lot of confidence in the offering, upping his usage in 2023. The shorter break of the pitch allows him to effectively use it against both-handed hitters.

The pitch cuts away from righties, but even when it bats up on him it is effective. When the pitch is located in on righties, it ties them up effectively, but the action on the pitch also makes it extremely effective at the bottom of the zone. The unique profile of Smith-Shawver’s slider should help him buck the trend of most fastball/slider arms being split-heavy.

The second breaking ball is an above average curveball that he will mix in around 10% of the time. The downer curve has plenty of depth, featuring around 15 inches of vertical break in the 79-81 mph range. With an improved feel to land it for a strike, the curve should be a viable third offering for him.

Rounding out the arsenal is a changeup that Smith-Shawver worked to develop during the offseason with strong results during camp and Spring Training. The upper 80s pitch could overtake his curveball as his third offering and lefty-neutralizer.

Outlook

It’s rare to see a high school drafted arm reach Triple-A in the first half of his second pro season, but it is a testament to the quality of stuff and athleticism Smith-Shawver boasts on the mound. The 21-year-old has battled some command issues which could be a combination of inexperience and trusting his stuff against advanced competition.

With a quality four pitch mix and exciting athleticism on the mound, Smith-Shawver offers plenty of upside. He will need to fill up the zone more, especially with his secondaries, to reach his middle rotation upside.

57. Brady House – 3B – Washington Nationals

Height/Weight: 6’3″, 215 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (11), 2021 (WAS) | ETA: 2025

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Injuries plagued House’s first full pro season, but he returned healthy in 2023 and mashed his way from Low-A to Double-A in his age-19 season.

Offense

A simple set up and pre-swing moves, House features a minimal hand load from his starting position along with a low, hovering leg kick that he starts early. He consistently is in position to see the ball early, perhaps resulting in a bit more aggressiveness at the plate (37% chase), but it has also helped him make more consistent contact across multiple levels.

For a hitter with plus raw power, House’s swing is a bit flat, resulting in more ground balls than desired and suppressed game power. He puts on shows in batting practice with the ability to demolish upper deck tanks, but in games, House appears to be more contact-oriented at this stage.

He still hits the ball hard consistently, running a 90th percentile exit velocity of 107 MPH while flashing exit velocities as high as 113 MPH. If House can create a bit more leverage in his swing and improve his selectiveness at the plate, he could develop into an offensive force.

Defense/Speed

Drafted as a shortstop, the big-bodied House as since moved over to the hot corner where he has solid range and a big arm to give him well above average defensive potential. As he gains reps, he could develop into a plus defender at the position.

Though not a clog on the base paths, House is an average runner who won’t try to steal very often.

Outlook

In what is his first full healthy season, House quickly reminded everybody why the Nationals selected him 11th overall in 2021. He has the raw power potential to hit 30 home runs with a feel to hit that continues to improve. Providing defensive value at the hot corner as well, House has All-Star potential if he can cut down on the chase and drive the ball in the air with more consistency. He likely settles as a volatile, power hitting third baseman who racks up above average WAR figures through slug and defense.

58. Drew Thorpe – RHP – Chicago White Sox

Height/Weight: 6’3″, 190 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 2nd Round (61), 2022 (NYY) | ETA: 2024

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Drafted in the second round for his fantastic changeup and track record of throwing strikes, Thorpe worked worked at the Yankees complex rather than making his pro debut in 2022 and saw his entire arsenal make a leap in his first pro season. After posting some of the best numbers in the Minor Leagues, he was a key part of the Juan Soto return for the Padres.

Arsenal

After the Yankees selected Thorpe, they worked with him to gain some velocity and improve his breaking ball shape. He saw his fastball jump a tick, now averaging a hair over 92 MPH with pretty good carry. A bigger frame with a low effort delivery, there’s some hope that Thorpe can find another tick.

The bread and butter for the right-hander is his plus plus changeup that mirrors his fastball until the last 15 feet, when it fades with lethal arm side movement and 10 MPH of separation from his fastball. His short, over-the-top arm action makes all of his offerings a tunneling nightmare for hitters, especially the changeup.

Opponents hit just .125 against the pitch with a 53% strikeout rate and 33% swinging strike rate. When hitters do make contact, it is often weak or on the ground, running a 63% ground ball rate with the offering.

While nearly half of his strikeouts came via the changeup in 2023, Thorpe’s slider has become his go-to strikeout pitch against right-handed hitters. There’s two variations of Thorpe’s slider that could qualify as two different pitches, one at 83-85 MPH with more sweep and the other at 81-83 MPH with gyro break.

Against both iterations of his breaking ball, opponents hit just .180 with a 45% strikeout rate and 23% swinging strike rate. While he will mix in some breaking balls to lefties, he predominately uses it to right-handed hitters.

Rounding out Thorpe’s arsenal is an average cutter that he will mix in to left-handed hitters to disrupt the fastball, changeup sequence. It features some late bite and dive, picking up plenty of ground balls (60%) when located well, but can get hit hard when he leaves it up. While not a big whiff pitch, it’s a good taste breaker and weak contact inducer.

Outlook

Plus command of an assortment of offerings including one of the best changeups in the Minor Leagues, Thorpe is easily the highest floor arm with the ability to miss enough bats to provide middle-of-the-rotation upside, especially if he sees his stuff jump another tick.

He will likely begin the season at Double-A or Triple-A, but depending on the Yankees’ starting pitching situation next season, Thorpe could be polished enough to make a case out of camp and is already ramped up for a big league workload after tossing 139 1/3 innings in 2023.

59. Harry Ford – C – Seattle Mariners

Height/Weight: 5’10″, 200 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (12), 2021 (SEA) | ETA: 2025

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First round prep catchers have a brutal track record, but Ford is not your typical prep catcher. Easy plus speed and projectable power give Ford plenty of upside, even if he does not stick behind the dish.

Offense

A physical 5-foot-10, 200 pounds, Ford generates impressive bat speed and a lofty swing geared for lift. Ford scrapped the leg kick in favor of a toe tap, which has helped mitigate some challenges against higher velocity without compromising the quality of his impact.

His path can result in a bit more whiff at the top of the zone, though he hedges that with elite plate discipline and an innate feel for the strike zone. Ford has walked at an 18% clip as a pro, while chasing just 14% of the time.

Though he is pretty filled out frame wise, Ford gotten his lower half more consistently involved in his swing and has tapping into more impact 2023. He saw nearly a two mph jump in his 90th percentile exit velocity and launched a career-best 15 homers.

While his exit velocities likely settle around average at best, his ability to consistently elevate and advanced approach give him the potential to hit 20 home runs with great on base skills.

Defense/Speed

Though he is an extremely athletic catcher, Ford’s blocking has improved but he has lapses, allowing 20 passed balls in 78 games during the 2023 season. His above average arm and twitchiness have helped him limit the run game and he earns high marks for the way he works with pitchers. His receiving has progressed well.

Ford is such a good athlete that he could probably play center field, but his improvements behind the dish make it decreasingly likely that he plays elsewhere. An easy plus runner, Ford swiped 24 bags on 32 tries in 118 games during the 2023 season.

Outlook

A smart player and grinder, Ford earns high marks for his makeup and work ethic and his steady improvements as a catcher only help validate that assertion. Even if the hit and power are closer to average, his superb on base skills and speed should help maximize his offensive value. Assuming his defense continues to progress, Ford has the upside of an above average everyday catcher who is capable of putting up 20/20 seasons.

60. Thomas Saggese – 2B – St. Louis Cardinals

Height/Weight: 5’11″, 185 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 5th Round (145), 2020 (TEX) | ETA: 2024

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A good feel to hit with the ability to drive the ball in the air consistently, Saggese has hit at every stop despite nothing quite jumping off of the page from a tools perspective.

Offense

Starting upright, Saggese gets into a big leg kick and rhythmic hand load, but has little trouble timing things up. He has quick hands and a great feel for the barrel, helping him get to pitches in different locations and turn around velocity.

He is a somewhat aggressive hitter, running a 32% chase rate on the season, but he hedges that with above average contact rates that continued to improve as the season progressed. Over his final 75 games of the season, Saggese posted a contact rate of 76% and in-zone contact rate of 86%.

His 90th percentile exit velocity of 103 MPH is a tick above average, but Saggese was able to launch 26 home runs during his 2023 campaign in large part to his ability to drive the ball in the air consistently (37% ground ball rate) in a hitter-friendly Texas League.

That said, Saggese undoubtedly tapped into more raw power in 2023, seeing his 90th percentile exit velocity and average exit velocity jump by a tick as well as setting a new max. 

Aside from his approach being expansive at times, Saggese is a difficult hitter to get out because he hits all pitch types well. He crushed both fastballs and non-fastballs to an OPS over .900 during the 2023 season.

There’s potential for a fringe-plus hit and at least average power for Saggese, but he has the characteristics of a hitter who will always outperform his peripherals, especially with the chase rate dwindling. 

Defense/Speed

Average range and an average arm allow Saggese to play a passable third base and second base, but sometimes struggles to make throws from different angles. He has good hands and decent actions, projecting as an average defender at second base who can play on the left side of the infield in a pinch.

An average runner, Saggese is an opportunistic base stealer who is efficient when he decides to take off. After stealing 12 bags on 15 tries in 2022, he swiped 12 on 14 tries in 2023.

Outlook

Even without a plus tool, Saggese has a balanced game across the board with plenty of offensive upside. His plus makeup and feel for the game have played a big part in his ability to climb through the minor leagues quickly, reaching Triple-A at just 21 years old. Saggese could develop into an offensive-minded infielder who can plug in at multiple spots.

61. Rhett Lowder – RHP – Cincinnati Reds

Height/Weight: 6’2″, 200 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (7), 2022 (CIN) | ETA: 2025

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Lowder made his closing argument as the second best college arm in the 2023 draft by going toe-to-toe with Paul Skenes in a winner-take-all semifinal game in Omaha. He may not have frontline stuff, but Lowder has a good arsenal with a great feel to pitch.

Arsenal

While his fastball may lag behind his high-quality secondaries, the pre-draft concerns around Lowder’s fastball appear to be a bit overblown. He sits 93-95 MPH with his heater, occasionally touching 97 MPH with some arm side run. He may not overpower hitters with it, but still picks up some whiff and plenty of ground balls. 

Lowder has an excellent feel for his secondaries, with both his slider and changeup flashing plus. He spots both consistently, landing them for strike around 70% of the time. His slider is his most consistent pitch, mixing it in 40% of the time his junior season with success against both lefties and righties. It features plenty of sweep from his three quarters release point. 

The third pitch for Lowder is an above average changeup that flashes plus. He will throw it at around 85-88 MPH with late fade and landing it for a strike around two-thirds of the time. Though a primary weapon to left-handed hitters, Lowder uses it effectively right-on-right sporadically.

Outlook

Phenomenal command and at least above average secondaries make Lowder not only a high-probability MLB starter, but also an arm that can climb quickly. He has at least middle-rotation upside with as good of a shot at sticking as a No. 4/No. 5 type as almost any arm in the top 100.

62. Termarr Johnson – 2B – Pittsburgh Pirates

Height/Weight: 5’8″, 175 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 1st Round (4), 2021 (PIT) | ETA: 2025

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Viewed as one of the best pure prep hitters in years, Johnson has the looks of a power-over-hit prospect in the early going, but the power is plentiful.

Offense

Johnson starts with his bat resting on his shoulder and his weight favoring his backside before getting into a big leg kick that coincides with a barrel tip. Generally, these loud moves would be of concern in regards to disrupting timing and consistency, but Johnson is quick and compact with explosive bat speed.

Despite his smaller stature, Johnson generates a ridiculous amount of rotational power and bat speed, already posting plus exit velocities with a 90th percentile exit velocity of 105 MPH and max of 112 MPH.

Like many young hitters, Johnson tends to try to get into his pull side power a bit too much, causing him to be out and around the baseball. Good secondary stuff in pro ball has also caused Johnson to drift onto his front foot as well. That said, he is patient in the box, running a chase rate right around 17%

Johnson is a really fun hitter to watch when he’s on time. Pitchers will fear going inside on him because of the way he is able to turn around stuff on the inner half with authority. When Johnson is at his best, he is able to shoot balls the other way with authority as well, but he will need to find some more consistency with his lower half.

It will remain to be seen if Johnson can get away with his loud moves against more advanced pitching, however his decent feel for the barrel and ridiculous bat speed should help him either A. Get away with it, or B. Quiet things down without it coming at expense of much power.

Defense/Speed

Johnson’s hands work really well and his average arm should play fine at second base. Though not the rangiest, he should be an average defender or better at second.

Just an average runner who many evaluators think could slow down a step as he continues to mature, it’s unlikely that Johnson is a major factor on the bases.

Outlook

There’s a lot to like with Johnson’s bat. Plus raw power with a feel to hit that should improve along with a patient approach, there’s potential for major impact in the batter’s box. While he may not be the plus plus hitter that many evaluators tabbed him as coming out of the draft, he also boasts far more raw power than most gave him credit for.

How Johnson responds to more challenging pitching will likely determine whether he needs to make some swing tweaks, but his twitchy bat speed and explosiveness are impossible to teach and should give him an edge as he shores up his consistency.

63. Chase Hampton – RHP – New York Yankees

Height/Weight: 6’3″, 220 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 6th Round (190), 2022 (NYY) | ETA: 2024

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A strong four pitch mix headlined by a plus heater, the Yankees saw the upside the 6-foot-3 right-hander possessed when they snagged him in the sixth round out of Texas Tech. Rather than assigning him to an affiliate, Hampton worked in a controlled setting to help optimize his arsenal and smooth his delivery. The results were evident in his first pro season, boasting a 25% K-BB rate, one of the best marks in the Minor Leagues.

Arsenal

A clean, low-effort delivery, Hampton’s repeats his mechanics well with four quality offerings that work well off of each other. His plus fastball sets the tone, with elite carry at 92-95 MPH. The shape of the pitch is what makes it so difficult for hitters to get to, averaging 19 inches of induced vertical break from an extremely flat VAA. The combination of above average IVB and a VAA that is far flatter than the average pitcher from his release height gives him an rare fastball look for hitters.

As a result, he picked up an swinging strike rate of 17% on his fastball (10% is roughly average) with well above average chase rates and big whiff numbers within the zone. Despite the dominance of his fastball, Hampton only threw it about 35% of the time in 2023 boasting plenty of confidence in his secondaries, which played well off of a fastball that hitters feel like they have to cheat for.

Though it’s not his best pitch in terms of shape or whiff, he is supremely confident in the offering, landing it for a strike more than 70% of the time while picking up plenty of weak contact. The pitch performs better against lefties as Hampton is comfortable running through the back door as well as tying them up.

His slider and curveball are both above average offerings, but the slider stands out as the more consistent and effective pitch in the 82-84 MPH range with good sweeping action. He almost exclusively uses it against right-handed hitters.

His 79-81 MPH curveball features good depth and good downward bite, tunneling particularly well off of his fastball. Much like the slider to righties, Hampton almost exclusively throws the curve to lefties.

Outlook

Clearly the Yankees’ best pitching prospect following the Drew Thorpe trade, Hampton boasts high-end No. 3 upside with a great chance of at least becoming a quality back end arm. With his big frame frame and low-effort delivery, there could be more velocity in the tank for Hampton, which would make his fastball easily a double-plus pitch.

With a bit more consistent of a feel for his curveball and more optimal pitch usage (he would likely benefit from throwing his fastball more, cutter less and possibly even mixing in the curveball to righties), Hampton could help the Yankees as soon as 2024.

64. Ceddanne Rafaela – OF – Boston Red Sox

Height/Weight: 5’8″, 195 | Bat/Throw: R/R | IFA: $10K (2017) – BOS | ETA: 2024

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A great defender at multiple spots, Rafaela enjoyed a power breakout in 2022, boosting his longterm outlook. Rafaela is an incredibly unique prospect, whose hyper-aggressive approach may limit his offensive contributions some.

Offense

Sneaky exit velocities and an improved ability to lift the ball have helped Rafaela tap into more power as he has progressed through the minors. He starts upright with his hands high over his head before sinking into his back leg as he loads his hands.

Rafaela gets the most out of his smaller frame, boasting a 90th percentile exit velocity of 104 MPH and max of 109 MPH. He has an average feel for the barrel, but is extremely aggressive at the plate, running a 40% chase rate. Rafaela’s high swing rates would be more palatable if he posted better contact rates, but it’s hard to deny his results thus far. His improved ability to produce power in games takes some pressure off of the hit tool as well.

Despite being so aggressive, Rafaela has solid offensive numbers against all offerings. If he could improve his approach, much of the risk around his offensive profile would dissipate, but he has the potential for average hit and above average power.

Defense/Speed

A 70 grade runner and premium athlete, Rafaela is an impact defender no matter where you stick him on the diamond. Rafaela saw the majority of his action in center field, where his speed is on full display. He covers a ridiculous amount of ground and gets great jumps, with his routes getting better and better as the year went on. He’s a plus plus defender in center and could become one of baseball’s best.

Rafaela is not quite as elite at shortstop due to limited reps comparatively, but his quickness, great hands and range make him an above average infielder at the position or better. He is an asset defensively. A threat for 20-30 stolen bases annually, Rafaela is not afraid to run, but could be more efficient.

Outlook

Rafaela’s offensive improvements over the last couple seasons have drastically improved his outlook. Once viewed as a bench utility type, Rafaela looks more like an everyday player with super-utility versatility in a similar manner to Chris Taylor of the Dodgers. That is the ceiling to dream on for Red Sox fans, but I don’t think they would be upset with a younger, faster Kiké Hernandez either.

65. Noah Schultz – LHP – Chicago White Sox

Height/Weight: 6’9″, 220 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 1st Round (26), 2022 (CWS) | ETA: 2027

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Standing at a towering 6-foot-9, Schultz throws a surprising amount of strikes with budding stuff. A shoulder impingement cut his season short, with the southpaw likely to throw just 65-80 innings according to the White Sox.

Arsenal

A tall, lanky lefty, Schultz hides the ball well until his arm whips around at a three quarter release point. Shultz sits 93-95 MPH with his fastball, touching 98 MPH with a ton of late arm side run. The late movement on Schultz’s fastball helps him get hitters to whiff or roll over it frequently. With a long, slender frame and a somewhat low-effort delivery, there’s hope that Schultz can grow into even more velocity.

Schultz’s sweeper has the potential to be a devastating pitch, averaging 16 inches of horizontal break from his low release point. He is confident during the pitch away from lefties as well as down on the back leg of righties. It was the potential to be a wipeout pitch if Schultz can command it consistently.

Rounding out the arsenal is a changeup that is still a work in progress. Schultz’s ability to use his fastball and sweeper to take care of right-handed hitters takes some pressure off of the immediate need for a changeup, but even an average change would improve Schultz’s starter outlook a good bit.

Outlook

The fact that a 6-foot-9 prep southpaw has been able to pound the strike zone in his professional debut has to have the White Sox excited about the future of their 2022 first round pick. Already possessing good stuff from a tough angle to pick up with, it seems like Schultz is still just scraping the surface of what he can be.

There’s inherent reliever risk with his build and profile, but he hedges that as much as any player of his mold could. There is frontline upside for Schultz if it all clicks, with a high probability of developing into a big league arm in some capacity.

66. Austin Wells – C – New York Yankees

Height/Weight: 6’1″, 215 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 1st Round (28), 2020 (NYY) | ETA: 2024

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A bat-first catcher who has made strides behind the dish, Wells has a strong track record of hitting dating back to his prep days at Bishop Gorman. After a solid big league cameo in 2023, he could take over the primary catching duties for the Yankees moving forward.

Offense

Starting slightly open, Wells utilizes a decent-sized leg kick but is consistently in rhythm and on time, sometimes shortening his gather if a pitcher is quicker to the plate or if he feels rushed. A swing path that is geared for lift helps Wells convert his slightly above average exit velocities into above average game power. Most of his home runs will be to his pull side, but he has the ability to drive the ball to all fields.

Wells demolished four seam fastballs to the tune of .315/.404/.630 in 2023, but saw his quality of contact really take a hit against secondary stuff, posting just a .536 OPS against non-fastballs. He made an adjustment to his hand load during his month in the big leagues, helping his barrel live in the zone a bit longer, giving him a wider margin for error against secondary stuff.

Historically a patient hitter who walked more than he struck out in college, Wells drew free passes at a 14% clip through his first two professional seasons with a chase rate below 23%. His chase rate jumped by 5% in 2023, but he still walked at a 10% clip against more challenging competition. With roughly average contact rates, decent numbers left-on-left, and a good feel for the strike zone, Wells could be an average hitter with above average power and good on-base skills.

Defense/Speed

Wells has come a long way defensively since he was drafted in 2020, particularly making a big leap in the receiving department, now being big league average in that regard. His catch and throw skills have improved, but he only threw out 14% of attempted base stealers across each level in 2023, limited by his fringy arm strength. Wells works hard behind the dish and earns high marks for his intangibles.

Outlook

Once viewed as a candidate to potentially move off of catcher, Wells worked hard to keep the gear on and now looks like he can at least play the position passably at the highest level. The Yankees selected Wells in the first round of the 2020 draft because of his exciting offensive upside from the left side of the plate. Now that he can stick behind the dish, he has the potential to be an above average everyday catcher who probably still has a bit more pressure on his bat than other starting catchers.

67. Edgar Quero – C – Chicago White Sox

Height/Weight: 5’10″, 170 | Bat/Throw: S/R | IFA: $200K – 2021 (LAA) | ETA: 2025

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A bat-first catching prospect with advanced approach and good feel to hit from both sides of the plate, Quero earned an aggressive assignment to Double-A and handled it well after tearing through High-A in 2022.

Offense

Quero broke out in a big way last year in his first full pro season (2022), proving to be much more polished at the plate than most of his competition. A short, quick swing geared for line drives from both sides of the plate, Quero’s compact levers help him make a ton of contact and turn around velocity.

His quiet and simple pre-swing moves from both sides of the plate help him consistently make contact. Quero boasts an overall contact rate of 81% and in zone zone contact rate of 87%. Paired with his great bat to ball skills is plus plate discipline, rarely expanding the zone and walking as much as he has struck out as a pro.

After leaving a hitter-friendly California League (Low-A), Quero saw his power output take a hit in the Southern League (Double-A). Quero’s flat swing results in far more line drives and ground balls than fly balls, limiting his game power. His average hard hit launch angle has sat below 10 degrees as a pro.

A tough hitter to punch out, Quero uses a toe tap when he is down to his last strike and battles. Between his patient approach and ability to spoil pitches when behind, Quero is able to get on base at a solid clip even when he isn’t swinging the hottest bat.

As he continues to get more at-bats under this belt, Quero has a chance to develop into a well above average hitter and an OBP machine. Though he may not tap into too much more power, he has 10-15 home run potential with plenty of gap to gap power.

Defense/Speed

A good athlete who moves well behind the dish, Quero is already a good blocker, but is a work in progress in the receiving department. He is relatively raw overall as a catcher, but has made improvements through his experience as the youngest catcher at the Double-A level in 2023.

Quero has at least an average arm and is accurate with his throws, but he can be a bit slow to get the ball out at times. He has cut down nearly 30% of base stealers as a pro.

Outlook

Even with minimal power output, it’s hard to argue against Quero’s feel to hit from both sides of the plate and knack for getting on base. As his defense improves, Quero has the looks of a safe catching prospect who should reach the big leagues relatively quickly.

Acquired by the White Sox at the 2023 trade deadline, Quero looks like the team’s longterm option behind the dish with a skillset that should give him a strong chance to be an above average regular. There are some similarities to Keibert Ruiz.

68. Drew Gilbert – OF – New York Mets

Height/Weight: 5’9″, 195 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 1st Round (28), 2022 (HOU) | ETA: 2025

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Above average tools across the board and a fiery competitor, Gilbert has the makings of a really balanced, yet productive ballplayer.

Offense

Gilbert starts with a slightly wide stance and his weight shifted on his back side before using a toe tap for timing. He has above average bat speed paired with a knack for barreling baseballs. Despite his smaller frame, Gilbert uses his lower half well to produce average power with flashes of above average pop to his pull side and consistently elevates.

The athleticism is evident in the box for Gilbert showcasing plenty of adjustability both with the barrel and his body. The exit velocities are slightly above average, but there might be a bit more impact in the tank as Gilbert gets his best swings off more consistently.

He was challenged with a quick bump to Double-A where he started a tad slow before gaining his footing and mashing to an OPS right around 1.000 over his final 30 games of the season. Gilbert blends average contact rates with a patient approach.

Defense/Speed

A borderline-plus runner, Gilbert’s speed is better used in the outfield than on the base paths. He covers ground quickly in center with efficient routes and good reads. With a plus arm as well, Gilbert should not only stick in centerfield, but be an above average defender there.

His speed has not quite made its way to the base paths in the form of stolen bases yet, but Gilbert is still valuable when on base.

Outlook

Traded to the Mets at the 2023 Deadline for Justin Verlander, Gilbert instantly became the team’s best outfield prospect. It’s difficult to poke a hole in Gilbert’s game with above average tools everywhere you look and a motor that teams love. He is a high probability big leaguer with a great chance of sticking in centerfield.

69. Luis Lara – OF – Milwaukee Brewers

Height/Weight: 5’9″, 160 | Bat/Throw: S/R | IFA: $1.1M, 2022 (MIL) | ETA: 2026

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Compact and speedy with great baseball instincts, Lara fast-tracked his way to Low-A as an 18-year-old and settled right in.

Offense

A switch-hitter with a balanced swing and great feel to hit from both sides of the plate, Lara makes up for his below average power with the ability to spray line drives all over the field. Lara is an extremely patient hitter as well, putting up some of the lowest chase rates in the Brewers organization. Combine the patience with fantastic bat-to-ball skills (90% zone contact) and it’s easy to see why Lara has walked as much as he has struck out as a pro.

Though the power is well below average at this point, he is already putting up exit velocities on par with Steven Kwan. At 18 years old, there is plenty of reason to believe that Lara can grow into gap-to-gap power, which is all he really needs. Lara has the offensive skillset to climb quickly, and should be a tough out at any level. 

Defense/Speed

An above average runner with good instincts, Lara has the goods to stick in center field. Like many young outfielders, Lara’s reads can be a bit shaky at times, effecting his jumps specifically on balls hit straight at him. But, he has also shown the ability to get good beats on balls in either gap with the closing speed to run them down. 

Lara’s above average arm should allow him to play all three outfield spots, but his offensive profile is probably best suited for center field, where he should be able to develop into an above average defender. Though not a major factor on the base paths, he will look to steal when the opportunity is there. Given Lara’s feel for the game, he could develop into a sneaky base stealer.

Outlook

While his hit tool is possibly the only potential plus tool for Lara, he has the potential to be 70 grade in that department while still offering an intriguing complementary skillset. Switch hitters with such a good feel to hit from both sides don’t grow on trees, and the Brewers acknowledged that when they shelled out $1.1 million for him despite limited projection physically.

Lara earns high marks for his makeup and work ethic and looks to be one of the safer bats in the Brewers organization with a strong chance at sticking in center.

70. Jace Jung – 2B – Detroit Tigers

Height/Weight: 6’0″, 205 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 1st Round (12), 2022 (DET) | ETA: 2025

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The younger brother of Josh Jung, Jace also provides a lot to be excited about offensively with good power from the left side and a knack for getting on base.

Offense

A unique setup, Jung starts with his bat angled diagonally and wrist cocked. His grip of the bat is reminiscent to a golf grip and his back knee starts angled towards the catcher. While setup is unorthodox, it puts him close to his desired launch position, featuring minimal pre-swing movement.

Jung hardly moves his hands from where he sets up, other than a small rhythmic move. The bat-angle he creates in his setup allows him to snap the barrel behind him with the barrel entering the zone early and staying through it for a long time.

The angle Jung creates helps him drive the ball in the air consistently, translating every bit of his above average raw power into above average game power. His 90th percentile exit velocity of 104.5 mph is comfortably above average, but his low ground ball rate of 36% was a large reason why he was able to run into 28 homers in 2023.

With a 78% zone contact rate, there is some whiff with Jung, but he hedges that with a good approach and ability to draw walks, picking up free passes at a 14% clip as a pro.

Defense/Speed

A below average runner, Jung lacks the range desired to be a strong defender in the infield, but does have an above average arm and good hands. His instincts and overall feel for the game compensate for his limitations, providing enough reason to believe that he can be a passable defender at second base or third base. He predominantly played second base during the regular season, but has seen more action at the hot corner in the Arizona Fall League.

Outlook

It’s an offensive-driven profile with Jung, but 28 homers and a .376 on base percentage in his first full professional season is more than enough to carry any bat-first prospect. With his ability to drive the ball in the air consistently and solid exit velocities, it’s easy to see Jung continue to produce above average game power at least.

The questions will be whether he can keep the whiff in check at the upper levels, and where his defensive home will ultimately be.

71. Michael Busch – 2B – Chicago Cubs

Height/Weight: 6’1″, 210 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 1st Round (31), 2019 (LAD) | ETA: 2023

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A powerful bat who controls the strike zone really well, Busch has the ingredients of a Max Muncy-lite.

Offense

Busch features a short, compact swing aimed for lift that produces power to all parts of the park. He has no problem driving the ball where it’s pitched, with plenty of his homers leaving the yard dead central or the other way. That said, his swing is quick enough to turn around hard stuff in.

Though his strikeout rate is routinely a bit high, it seems to be more due to a willingness to get deep into counts rather than major whiff concerns. His zone contact rate of 85% is above average, as is his 79% contact rate and he routinely is among the Minor League Leaders in walks.

Busch has flashed exit velocities as high as 112 MPH with a 90th percentile exit velocity of 105 MPH. His 19% chase rate has helped him walk at a 13% clip in his pro career.

Comfortable left-on-left, Busch has posted steady splits in his pro career, with an OPS above .800 against southpaws at the upper levels. He could probably benefit from picking his spots to be a bit more aggressive when he gets to the big leagues as sometimes MLB arms only give you one pitch to hit an at bat, but his at least average feel to hit, above average power and knack for drawing walks give him a solid offensive floor with the potential to hit 20-25 homers.

Defense/Speed

The majority of his time in the field was spent at second base in 2022, but Busch saw far more action at third base in 2023. While he has improved significantly since being drafted, he is a below-average defender due to his heavy-ish feet with just a fringy arm. He might not be a good defender anywhere, but he can make the plays he needs to make.

Outlook

Busch’s value will be dictated by the potency of his bat. The good news is, there is plenty to like in that regard. Edouard Julien of the Twins is a fantastic prototype of how a player with Busch’s skillset can succeed at the big league level, but Busch swings a bit more often with slightly less whiff.

72. Tyler Black – 3B – Milwaukee Brewers

Height/Weight: 5’10″, 190 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 1st Round (33) – 2021 (MIL) | ETA: 2024

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A bat-first prospect, the Brewers have tried to find a defensive home for the former first rounder to little avail, but his impressive ability at the plate continues to carry him.

Offense

Black utilizes a big leg kick to get into his lower half, but similar to Zach Neto, it is something that he has done for so long that it does not disrupt his timing. He walked nearly twice as much as he struck out in his collegiate career at Wright State, and struck out just 15.5% of the time in High-A during his first full pro season in 2022.

After missing time with an injury last season, Black returned looking stronger, and the results could be seen in the batted ball data. Black has seen his 90th percentile exit velocity jump by 4 MPH while upping his home run total of four in 2022 (64 games) to 18 in 2023 (123 games).

With the added power has come a bit more whiff for Black, but the feel for the barrel that scouts fell in love with ahead of the 2021 MLB Draft is still there. Running a chase rate of just 18%, he is also an extremely patient hitter who will draw plenty of walks.

While the Brewers Double-A affiliate in Biloxi is a hitter-friendly park, the big jump in exit velocity is encouraging for Black’s power outlook, and he has also slashed his ground ball rate by 11% in 2023. Black’s power flashes above average to his pull side and he leverages his hitter’s counts well to pick his spots to try to do damage.

Defense/Speed

A sneaky plus runner, Black has really blossomed as a base stealer, becoming a consistent threat to run. After stealing 13 bases in 64 High-A games in 2022, Black stole 47 bases in 84 Double-A games during the 2023 season. 

That athleticism has not quite translated into the field, where Black is still trying to find his defensive home. He mostly played second base in his first pro season before getting some run in center field, where he unfortunately fractured his scapula laying out for a fly ball.

The Brewers now have Black playing third base. His actions have improved some since he was drafted, but his arm is fringy at best. Though it helps that he has some familiarity with multiple spots, Black will likely grade out as a below average defender wherever the Brewers stick him and could wind up spending some time at first base.

Outlook

Black’s jump in power paired with a good feel for the barrel and great approach give him a strong offensive profile. His ability on the base paths helps provides some value beyond the bat, but the lack of defensive home is somewhat limiting. With his plus speed, it is worth wondering if he could get by in left, even with a weaker arm. 

The solid blend of above average hit and improved power should make Black a big league bat with enough offensive upside to be an above average regular despite his defensive shortcomings.

73. Sebastian Walcott – 3B – Texas Rangers

Height/Weight: 6’4″, 195 | Bat/Throw: R/R | IFA: $3.2M – 2023 (TEX) | ETA: 2028

HITPlate Disc.GAME POWERRUNFIELDFV
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A big-framed teenager who produced exit velocities as high as 112 MPH prior to his 18th birthday, Walcott boasts big time power potential.

Offense

Walcott starts upright with his hands rested on his shoulder with a big leg kick and a quiet hand load. He generates plus bat speed and exciting power with long levers that he already controls relatively well. Already flashing plus power with even more to his pull side, Walcott has has the potential to produce special impact.

Like many young, powerful hitters Walcott has the tendency to yank off of the ball, selling out for pull side power. When he gets a hanger or a fastball middle-in, it’s majestic, but it causes more rollovers and struggles with breaking balls away.

Standing at 6-foot-4 as a 17-year-old, Walcott is still learning to control his body throughout his swing, but as he matures at the plate, he could develop into an average hitter.

Defense/Speed

An above average runner, Walcott is a candidate to slow down a bit as he thickens and his actions/footwork at shortstop are a bit shaky. His plus arm would play well at third base where he could develop into a decent defender.

Outlook

One of the highest variance prospects on the top 100 list, Walcott forced his way into the converastion with batted ball data that you just don’t see from 17-year-olds and even more projection in the tank. While his strikeout rate elevated at the Complex, Walcott’s contact rate within the zone and developing approach provide optimism that he can improve in that regard.

There is elite power potential from Walcott who creates impressive leverage with his swing despite it still being somewhat of a work in progress.

74. Chase Dollander – RHP – Colorado Rockies

 Height/Weight: 6’2″, 195 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (9), 2023 (COL) | ETA: 2025

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One of the more electric arms college baseball has seen in several years, Dollander’s disappointing junior season was still not enough to push him outside of the top 10 picks in this past year’s draft.

Arsenal

An overpowering pitcher who is a data darling, Dollander runs out a four pitch mix with the potential for three plus offerings. His double-plus fastball sits 95-97 MPH, touching 99 MPH with exploding life at the top of the zone. Averaging around 16 inches of induced vertical break with late arm side run from a release height of 5.5 feet, Dollander’s fastball is extremely difficult for hitters to get on top of while also frequently freezing them at the knees.

Working off of his fastball is a cutter-ish slider in the 86-88 MPH range. It played more like a slider in 2022, featuring more horizontal break and less vertical break in the mid 80s. With more sweep and separation in velocity from his fastball, it picked up more whiff and chase, while his shorter and harder cutter was barreled more frequently with less margin for error if he missed his spot.

The step backwards with his slider could have been due to the delivery inconsistencies he struggled with during his relatively frustrating 2023 season, but if he can regain shape closer to what we saw in 2022, it’s an easy plus pitch. He landed his slider for a strike nearly 70% of the time in 2022 compared to a 60% strike rate in his final collegiate season.

Dollander told Just Baseball that he spent the offseason cleaning up some issues that crept into his delivery which have him feeling confident with both his command and the quality of his stuff.

Dollander’s third pitch is an upper 80s changeup with some decent arm side fade. He could probably benefit from killing more spin, as the pitch averaged around 2,000 RPM in his sophomore season compared to 2,200 RPM last season. He still landed it for a strike at a strong 67% mark, but it did not feature the same string pull that it had in the past.

Even with less movement, Dollander can rack up plenty of chase swings as hitters gear up for his lively fastball from the aforementioned low release point. If he can kill the spin back to the 2022 levels, it could be a plus offering.

Rounding out the arsenal is an upper 70s curveball that he will mix in a handful of times per start. Likely due to his inconsistent delivery, the shape of the pitch was inconsistent. At times, it would feature more downward break while other instances it would look more like a slurve. Dollander said that he worked on the pitch during the offseason to make sure it does not blend with the slider and feels good about where the pitch is at heading into 2024.

Outlook

With such a great pitcher’s build and a smooth, athletic delivery, Dollander could have put himself right alongside Paul Skenes as the top arm in the draft. He was still easily one of the best pitchers in his class, despite his ERA doubling to 4.75 in his draft year, because of the immense upside he has already displayed.

There’s some discrepancies in his mechanics from 2022 to 2023 and with a relatively small tweak, Dollander could quickly solidify himself as one of the best pitching prospects in the game thanks to his lively stuff and tough release point for hitters. Pitching prospects have not fared well for the Rockies in recent years for a myriad of reasons, but none of them were as talented as Dollander, who has frontline upside.

75. Ivan Herrera – C – St. Louis Cardinals

Height/Weight: 5’11″, 220 | Bat/Throw: R/R | IFA: $200K, 2016 (STL) | ETA: 2023

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It’s been an interesting arc for Herrera, who went from the heir-apparent to Yadier Molina, to blocked by Willson Contreras, to potentially the team’s future behind the dish once again. He made some adjustments in the box that helped him tap into more power in 2023.

Offense

Always having possessed decent bat-to-ball skills, Herrera struggled to produce due to both elevated ground ball rates and pull rates. A premature forward shift in his lower half paired with some swing path issues resulted in far too much weak contact. Despite boasting a max exit velocity of 111 MPH, Herrera’s average exit velocity was only 84 MPH in 2022.

He emerged in 2023 with an altered setup that has helped him not only make more consistent contact, but also more consistently hard contact. His 90th percentile exit velocity jumped from 103 MPH in 2022 to 107 MPH in 2023 while slashing his ground ball rate by around 7% and doubling his HR/FB rate.

He also produced a new max exit velocity of 113 MPH and triple the amount of 105+ batted balls. Essentially, he improved in every single power indicator. Low chase rates, decent contact rates and plus raw power that he is tapping into much more effectively in games have Herrera trending like an above average offensive catcher.

Defense/Speed

A decent arm and pretty good mobility behind the plate, Herrera has the tools to be at least an average catcher. Some scouts were discouraged by Herrera’s receiving in the early going of his career, but he has improved with reps. Herrera blocks well and should continue to develop into at least an average defensive catcher with a chance for some more depending on his receiving.

Outlook

Drastic improvements at the plate and a development behind the dish, Herrera may have played his way into favorability as the future at catcher in St. Louis. Above average offensive output with at least average defense give Herrera the outlook of an above average backstop. His makeup and work ethic inspire belief that the 23-year-old’s defense could continue to progress at the big league level.

76. Everson Pereira – OF – New York Yankees

Height/Weight: 6’0″, 170 | Bat/Throw: R/R | IFA: $1.5M, 2017 (NYY) | ETA: 2024

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Frame-defying power and the ability to stick in center make Pereira exciting, but whiff concerns may hold him back.

Offense

Starting slightly open with a rhythmic leg kick and sink into his back side, Pereira’s explosive athleticism is evident throughout his swing. His twitchy bat speed and torque can be seen on fastballs running inside that he somehow gets around on and he does a good job of getting his powerful lower half involved in his swing.

Despite his somewhat moderate build, Pereira produces eye-catching exit velocities and mammoth home runs when he gets a hold of one. He has produced exit velocities as high as 115 MPH, with a gaudy 90th percentile exit velocity of 109 MPH, tops of any prospect in the Yankees organization.

Pereira struggled to lift the ball with consistency in 2022, posting a 50% ground ball rate. He has cut that figure by more than 10% in 2023, helping him match his 2022 home run total shortly after the All-Star Break (14).

There’s a fair amount of whiff in Pereira’s game, running a contact rate around 65% and zone contact rate at 75%, but his plus-plus power and improved approach help him remain productive as a younger hitter at the upper levels.

Defense/Speed

An above-average runner who gets great jumps in the outfield, Pereira looks the part in center field and has a solid chance of sticking there. His strong arm could help him profile as a potentially plus defender in a corner as well. Pereira’s jumps and good closing speed help him overcome the occasional shaky route, but if he can clean that up, he has a great chance of being a solid defender in center.

Stolen bases have become less a part of his game at the upper levels, but he will still steal a handful per year and adds value on the bases.

Outlook

Though a risky profile, Pereira has the tools to be an impact bat in center field. Unteachable bat speed, frame-defying juice, and an improved approach have him trending in the right direction. There will likely always be a fair amount of whiff involved with Pereira’s game, but if he consistently lifts the ball as he has started to do in 2023, there’s 30 home run upside to make the punch outs easier to palate.

77. Orelvis Martinez – 3B – Toronto Blue Jays

Height/Weight: 6’0″, 175 | Bat/Throw: R/R | IFA: $3.5M – 2018 (TOR) | ETA: 2024

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There have never been any doubts about Martinez’s power, but an improved approach and contact rates have him fending off the prospect fatigue

Offense

Though still quite noisy in the box, Martinez has made some adjustments to improve his consistency contact wise and use the whole field a bit more. He starts more stacked on his back side with more of a pronounced coil in his load that has helped him stay on the baseball longer. Though he still likes to pull, Martinez previously sold out for pull side power, often stepping in the bucket and spinning off of spin or soft stuff away.

After posting an OPS under .600 against breaking balls in 2022, Martinez is up over .800 against such pitches in 2023. His improved body control has also helped him put up bigger exit velocities, seeing a two-tick jump in his 90th percentile exit velocity at 106 MPH.

With two strikes, Martinez spreads out and eliminates his stride, relying on a coil for his load and letting his natural bat speed do the work. He boasts a zone contact rate of 88% with two strikes, showcasing just how well his hands work when his body does not take him out of his swing.

On top of his swing improvements, Martinez has cut his chase rate by around 5% in 2023, walking at the highest clip of his professional career. Changeups have specifically been an an Achilles’ heel for Martinez, but with drastic improvements against breaking balls and his overall approach, there’s a ton to be excited about with the direction of the Blue Jays prospect.

Defense/Speed

A fringy defender no matter where you stick him on the left side of the infield, Martinez best profiles at third base. His plus arm is a big help, but his actions are shaky. He has the tools to develop into an average defender at third base if he can clean up his footwork and glove work some. Martinez is an average runner at best.

Outlook

Martinez launched 30 home runs in 118 games at the Double-A level in 2022, but his frustrating approach and whiff concerns weighed down his prospect stock. One of the top talents in the 2018 IFA class, it feels like he has been around forever, but with 2020’s COVID cancelled season, Martinez’s age-21 season in 2023 was just his third full season.

Tangible adjustments in the box have improved contact rates, drastically improved walk rates and created a more appealing spray chart, as Martinez is starting to provide some optimism that he can hit enough to reach his 30 home run potential.

78. Christian Scott – RHP – New York Mets

Height/Weight: 6’4″, 220 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 5th Round (142) – NYM (2021) | ETA: 2024

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An improved fastball and a leap command wise helped Scott break out in 2023, posting one of the best K-BB figures in the Minor Leagues. The right-hander built on the success by adding a sweeper in the offseason that has yielded impressive results in the early going.

Arsenal

Scott has overpowered Double-A hitters with his 94-96 mph fastball, attacking the zone with plenty of confidence. The pitch is unique because he features a three quarters release, but is still able to maintain more ride than run on the fastball, creating an incredibly flat and unfamiliar approach angle for hitters.

The result was an opponent batting average below .200 and a ridiculous in zone whiff rate of 33% paired with a swinging strike rate of 19% on his fastball in Double-A. Scott’s ability to miss bats within the zone and plus command combined to give him a 73% strike rate on the pitch in 2023.

Working off of his fastball is a plus changeup with good arm side fade in the mid 80s. Scott sells it really well with his arm speed and release, making it extremely difficult for hitters to differentiate from his fastball. He also has an excellent feel for the pitch, landing it for a strike 67% of the time in 2023 while racking up a chase rate near 40%.

Scott made some tweaks to his slider, throwing two variations that are both improved from what we saw from him in 2023. He adding more of a true sweeper to the fold in the mid 80s which plays up from his more horizontal release while also adding more vertical drop to his traditional slider at a higher velocity.

Outlook

Assuming the adjustments to his slider continue to translate, Scott boasts the pitch mix of a mid-rotation starter with the command to supplement it. A late bloomer, Scott is a bit older than most of the top pitching prospects surrounding him on the top 100 list, however he only threw 121 collegiate innings at the University of Florida and is knocking on the door of his big league debut in his third pro season. Scott is the Mets best pitching prospect and should grab a spot in the rotation at some point 2024.

79. Bubba Chandler – RHP – Pittsburgh Pirates

Height/Weight: 6’2″, 200 | Bat/Throw: S/R | 3rd Round (72), 2021 (PIT) | ETA: 2025

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Drafted as a two-way prospect who also boasted Power Five offers as a quarterback, Chandler has blossomed quickly as he has focused on pitching, with his athleticism more than evident.

Arsenal

Athletic with elite arm speed, Chandler’s fastball explodes out of his hand with good carry. An easy plus heater, it sits 95-97 MPH, flirting with triple digits while averaging more than 18 inches of induced vertical break. The strong pitch characteristics have helped Chandler pick up elite whiff and chase numbers, especially at the top of the zone.

Working off of Chandler’s lively heater is a plus changeup with late arm side fade. His ability to maintain his arm speed makes it difficult for hitters to differentiate from the fastball. Opponents hit below .150 against the pitch with a 54% ground ball rate. He will predominantly throw it to lefties, but it is a good enough pitch to bury in on right-handed hitters.

The third offering for Chandler is his cutter in the upper 80s. The pitch was somewhat between a cutter and slider shape but became more effective for him as he started to throw it harder with more of a true cutter shape as the season progressed. As he commands the pitch a bit better, it should be an above average third offering.

Outlook

As athletic as they come on the mound, Chandler made a huge leap in his first full season exclusively focusing on pitching. His combination of a plus fastball and changeup elevate his floor, but there’s more in the tank.

His stuff continued to trend in the right direction as the season progressed with the fastball looking like a double-plus pitch down the stretch. With some continued refinement of his cutter and overall feel to pitch, Chandler has a chance to blossom into a strong middle-rotation arm.

80. Arjun Nimmala – SS – Toronto Blue Jays

Height/Weight: 6’1″, 185 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (20), 2023 (TOR) | ETA: 2027

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Few prospects enjoyed more helium heading into the 2023 draft than Nimmala. One of the youngest players in the class, his present bat speed and projectable frame has evaluators dreaming on what could be.

Offense

Already boasting plus bat speed, Nimmala has an advanced swing for his age and does not get cheated. He consistently gets himself in a position to get his “A” swing off with a good feel for the the strike zone. Nimmala already does a good job of driving the ball in the air with authority and has a chance to develop above average game power or better as he fills out.

Defense/Speed

An above average runner with good footwork and range at shortstop, Nimmala has the arm strength to stick at the position with the actions to be a good defender there. Though he does not record the best home-to-first times, Nimmala is a good runner overall.

Outlook

Looks have been limited at Nimmala, but he has made a huge leap both physically and in his all-around game over the last year have the Blue Jays excited about what the rest of his development could look like. With the ability to stick at short and exciting power potential, the arrow is pointed upwards for Nimmala.

81. Jairo Iriarte – RHP – Chicago White Sox

Height/Weight: 6’5″, 200 | Bat/Throw: R/R | IFA: $75K, 2018 (SDP) | ETA: 2025

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Signed for just $75,000 out of Venezuela, Iriarte saw his stuff jump nearly three ticks in 2023, helping him post the highest strikeout rate of his professional career and reach Double-A shortly after his 21st birthday.

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Arsenal

Power stuff across the board, Iriarte’s double plus fastball leads the way, sitting 95-97 MPH with exploding life. Upper 90s heaters get on hitters quickly as is, but the combination of Iriarte’s flat vertical attack angle (-4.2) and seven feet of extension causes hitters to often miss under and late. He can run it up as high as 99 MPH.

Working off of his fastball is a sharp slider in the mid 80s and a hard changeup in the low 90s. Iriarte used his slider more frequently in 2023, going to it with 35% of his offerings and holding opponents to just a .150 batting average.

The sharp and late break the pitch features makes it effective against both lefties and righties, holding hitters to a .150 batting average in 2023. If Iriarte can fill up the zone a bit more than his 58% strike rate in 2023, it could very well enter plus-plus territory.

Rounding out his arsenal a low 90s power changeup similar to what you will see many of the Miami Marlins’ young pitchers throw. He has cut his usage of the pitch a bit, as his slider has become a weapon for both-handed hitters, but he will still mix it in around 15% of the time.

It’s an above average offering with decent fade, more often used as a weak contact inducer than a put-away pitch. He yielded a 58% ground ball rate with his changeup in 2023, but still picked up a fair amount of whiff early in counts. Where he can run into trouble at times is when the pitch firms up on him and/or he misses upstairs.

Outlook

The combination of Iriarte’s electric stuff, loose, quick arm speed and tough release point make it easy to understand how he struck out 33% of batters in 2023. His delivery can be a bit inconsistent at times, evident by his 12% walk rate, but he has flashed stretches of solid command, especially with his fastball.

Iriarte has grown several inches and put on a fair amount of strength since signing with the Padres in 2018, now standing at 6-foot-5, 200 pounds. He has become a power pitcher in every sense, and if his command can take a step forward in 2024, the Padres could have a middle-rotation piece for the foreseeable future. If not, he has the stuff to be an elite high-leverage bullpen arm.

82. Connor Phillips – RHP – Cincinnati Reds

Height/Weight: 6’2″, 190 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 2nd Round (64), 2020 (SEA) | ETA: 2024

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Traded along with Brandon Williamson in the Jesse Winker/Eugenio Suarez deal, Phillips has seen his stuff jump over the last couple years, with an electric pitch mix.

Arsenal

Phillips has as good of stuff as you’re going to see in the Reds system. His fastball sits 95-97 MPH, topping out at 100 MPH along with a pair of breaking balls that flash above average or beter

The mid-80s slider averages 16 inches of horizontal break and is a wipeout pitch to righties while his upper-70s curveball is of better use to lefties with good depth. Phillips landed his slider for a strike more frequently, but both breaking balls were inconsistent last season.

When he’s around the zone with his breaking balls they are difficult to hit, opponents have hit below the Mendoza Line against his two benders since the start of 2022. He will also mix in a changeup that is far behind the rest of his arsenal at this point.

Outlook

There’s reliever risk with Phillips due to his command issues, but his upper 90s fastball and pair of nasty breaking balls give him tantalizing upside. He will need to land his secondaries for a strike more consistently than the 53% clip he has posted in 2023, but in his defense, he had to throw with the experimental tacked baseballs in the Southern League before going back to a normal baseball in Triple-A.

Reaching Triple-A and enjoying spurts of success in his age 21/22 season makes Phillips command shortcomings much more palatable. He will still need to show improvement in this regard to be seriously considered as a rotation option.

83. Kevin Alcantara – CF – Chicago Cubs

Height/Weight: 6’6″, 200 | Bat/Throw: R/R | IFA: $1M – 2018 (NYY) | ETA: 2025

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Projectable would put it lightly with the 6-foot-6, athletic Alcantara. Acquired from the Yankees in the Anthony Rizzo deal, Alcantara has a chance to be a terrorizing middle-of-the-order bat with sneaky complementary tools.

Offense

Tall, long, and lanky but with impressively quick hands, Alcantara has simplified his moves in the box in order to minimize whiff and it has not come at the expense of his exciting ability to impact the ball. 

Naturally, any prospect with levers as long as Alcantara’s will run into some swing and miss issues, but he has managed the strikeout rate relatively well in his first two professional seasons with tangible adjustments that point towards the possibility for an average hit tool. 

He may just be scraping the surface of his power potential in games, but Alcantara has flashed major impact ability. His 90th percentile exit velocity of 107 MPH is comfortably plus with a max exit velocity of 112.5 MPH. 

Perhaps in an effort to be shorter to the ball, Alcantara’s swing has flattened a bit, seeing his ground ball rate jump from 43% to 51%, but he has also shown the ability to drive the ball to all fields with authority. He can struggle to manage his long levers through stretches, finding himself in between with his timing when things aren’t going right.

Another contributor to his elevated ground ball rate could be his chase rate of 35%, as he tends to swing at pitches below the knees a bit too often as well as off the plate away. If Alcantara can create a bit more leverage with his swing and improve his plate discipline, the sky is the limit offensively, but there is a fair amount of risk. 

Defense/Speed

Alcantara possesses above average speed thanks to his long strides which allow him to cover plenty of ground. Though there’s plenty of reason to believe he can stick in center, there is a chance that Alcantara could slow down a step as he physically matures. He would project as a fringe-plus defender in a corner with a pretty good arm. 

His speed translates more into closing speed in the outfield than quick burst base stealing, but Alcantara can still get to his top speed quick enough to steal 10-15 bags annually and provides overall value on the bases. 

Outlook

Prospects with 70-grade raw power to dream on and potential to stick in center field don’t come around every day. Though still a very volatile prospect profile, Alcantara’s solid offensive output at each of his lower level stops and palatable strikeout rates at least chip away a little at the risk. Alcantara is still a project, but the final result could be something special.

84. Noble Meyer – RHP – Miami Marlins

Height/Weight: 6’5″, 200 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (10), 2023 (MIA) | ETA: 2026

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A tall right-hander with exciting stuff and advanced command for his profile, Meyer offers all of the upside you want to see from a prep arm with a much better chance to start than most.

Arsenal

A loose, long arm action from a three-quarters arm slot, Meyer repeats his delivery well. His fastball sits 92-94 MPH, touching 97 MPH with plenty of horizontal movement. The late arm side run from Meyer’s lower release point should help him pick up a nice mixture of whiffs and ground balls.

Meyer’s 82-84 MPH sweeping slider is his best pitch, averaging 2,900 RPMs. It dives away from right-handed hitters, picking up ugly swings and Meyer is comfortable burying it on the back leg of lefties as well. It was the potential to be a plus plus pitch.

Rounding out Meyer’s arsenal is a changeup that he is still trying to find a feel for. It tends to get firm on him in the upper 80s, but flashes decent arm side fade.

Outlook

The top prep arm in the 2023 draft, Meyer already possesses two plus pitches with the ability to repeat his delivery. His command has been a bit inconsistent in the early stages of his pro career, but that is to be expected from a 6-foot-5 prep arm with a somewhat unique release. The development of Meyer’s changeup will be something to monitor, but being a Marlins farmhand, he’s in the right organization for that.

With his slender frame and relatively low-effort mechanics, Meyer could easily see an uptick in velocity that would have him sitting closer to the mid 90s and raise his ceiling, though his stuff already looks like it could be middle-rotation caliber as is.

85. Jefferson Rojas – SS – Chicago Cubs

Height/Weight: 5’10″, 195 | Bat/Throw: R/R | IFA: $1M – 2021 (CHC) | ETA: 2026

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After a strong showing in extended Spring Training, Rojas earned an aggressive assignment to Low-A shortly after his 18th birthday and put up strong numbers.

Offense

Still a bit raw offensively, Rojas relies on natural ability in the box, making a fair amount of contact and flashing above average power potential. He handled an aggressive Low-A assignment well, posting a .750 OPS as an 18-year-old with steady contact rates (84% zone contact).

His path could use a bit of work, at times getting too horizontal with a little extra slack, causing hard fastballs to get in on him. But, he has also flashed the bat speed and hand quickness to still turn hard stuff around.

Already hitting multiple home runs 107 MPH, Rojas has more room for strength and probably has more power in his present fame as is if he can find some more consistency with his lower half. Like so many young hitters, Rojas can leak forward a bit prematurely and is not always connected with his upper half and lower half.

He almost surely will add at least some strength as he matures, and as you pair that with some better swing patterning as he gains experience, above average power seems attainable. His feel for the barrel is good, with the ability to drive the ball to all fields.

As Rojas cleans up his path and learns to control his body a bit better, he could offer above average hit with at least average power, though I’m betting on a bit more.

Defense/Speed

A slightly above average runner, Rojas is more quick than fast with a good first step and solid range at shortstop. His comfortably above average arm and advanced actions for his age should not only help him stick at the position, but potentially be above average there. He has a good internal clock and instincts, which should only help him continue to develop well at the position.

Outlook

It’s very early in the development of Rojas and the way that the Cubs have handled him should be a clue into how excited the team is both about his potential and his maturity. Launching a moon shot off of Zach Davies and putting together competitive at-bats against other more experienced arms at extended Spring Training helped his case prior to the assignment to Myrtle Beach.

If Rojas can clean up some of his moves in the box, there is exciting offensive potential while adding value with the glove at shortstop. Again, it’s early, so the projections can change, but a .270 hitter with around 20 home runs and above average shortstop defense doesn’t seem entirely far fetched.

86. Kevin McGonigle – SS – Detroit Tigers

Height/Weight: 5’11”, 185 | Bat/Throw: L/R | CB-A (37) – 2023 (DET) | ETA: 2026

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Ahead of his years at the plate with impressive overall baseball instincts, McGonigle adjusted to pro ball seamlessly and looks like he could climb quickly.

Offense

A wide, slightly open setup, McGonigle starts well into his legs and uses a toe tap load as his weight shifts into his backside. With two strikes, he will get even deeper into his lower half in his set up while choking up a bit on the bat.

A short, quick swing, McGonigle has an excellent feel for the barrel with the adjustability to get to tough pitches in various spots. An extremely patient hitter, McGonigle only chased around 13% of pitches in his pro debut and walked more than he struck out.

While the power just flashes average at this point, McGonigle can spray balls with some authority to all fields. He already looks comfortable in left-on-left matchups, staying on breaking balls while still turning around velocity in. Between his bat to ball skills and approach, McGonigle has a great chance to develop into a plus hitter and could add close to average power.

Defense/Speed

Despite both an average arm and range, McGonigle moves his feet well enough and puts himself in good spots to make plays at shortstop. He works low to the ground and reads contact off of the bat well, boasting impressive overall instincts and comfort throwing on the run and from different angles.

While his average athleticism may limit him from being an impact defender at shortstop, he may be capable of sticking there thanks to his strong actions and feel for the game. If he moves to second base, he’d be an above average defender there.

Outlook

Already looking like a steal in the compensation round of the 2023 MLB Draft, the Tigers shelled out $2.85 million ($500K over slot) to sign him away from Auburn. We only have a 24-game sample to work with at this point, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a bad at-bat in that span, and he stood out against fellow first-rounders Noble Meyer and Thomas White as well as some rehabbing big leaguers.

McGonigle similarly stuck out against elite competition when playing against top arms for Team USA and the summer circuit. With his track record and early performance, he is a candidate to climb quickly. He goods to be a top of the order threat who can play all over the infield.

87. Anthony Solometo – LHP – Pittsburgh Pirates

Height/Weight: 6’5, 220 | Bat/Throw: L/L | 2nd Round (37), 2021 (PIT) | ETA: 2026

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An unorthodox lefty who saw his stuff jump by nearly two ticks in 2023, Solometo started to really gain confidence in his stuff, reaching Double-A in his age 20 season with a dwindling walk rate.

Arsenal

A delivery that is reminiscent of Madison Bumgarner with a windup deep arm swing backwards leading into three-quarters, cross-body release, Solometo creates a very unusual look for hitters. After averaging 90.5 mph on his fastball in 2022, the southpaw settled at 92.2 mph in 2023 while more than doubling his innings total.

Even at 91-93 mph, Solometo’s fastball gets on hitters quickly. His low release paired with above average extension and slingshot delivery does not discriminate against lefties or righties. If anything, the fastball plays better against right-handed hitters (.212 OBA).

He will mostly throw four-seam fastballs, picking up very strong whiff numbers at the top of the zone, though he will mix in some sinkers to visit the bottom third enough for hitters to keep it in mind.

The second plus offering for for Solometo is a mid 80s slider with hard, cutterish break that plays up horizontally thanks to his far out release. He commands the pitch even better than his fastball, landing it for a strike 70% of the time, rarely missing his spot by much.

His superb command of his slider allows it to play up against right-handed hitters, sneaking the pitch in through the back door while also featuring enough sharpness to it for Solometo to confidently go inside too.

The third pitch for Solometo is a changeup that has flashed average but took a step backwards in 2023. He only landed it for a strike 39% of the time, with far too many non-competitive changeups. After utilizing the pitch nearly 20% of the time in 2022, the lack of viability of the offering resulted in less than 10% usage in 2023.

Outlook

As Solometo blew past his previous high in innings pitched, his velocity waned a bit over his final handful of starts, but was still effective as a 20-year-old in Double-A, walking just 6% of batters while still missing a decent amount of bats.

Assuming Solometo will sit closer to where we saw him in the beginning of the season velocity wise, both the fastball and slider could be plus or close to it with above average command. Though there’s still hope that the changeup can progress to a respectable third offering, the effectiveness of both Solometo’s fastball and slider against hitters from both sides of the plate and his above average command could allow him to get away with predominantly using just two pitches.

Still just 21 years old for the entirety of 2024 and with a big frame, it wouldn’t be outrageous if he gained another tick on his heater, which could give him middle-rotation upside. It’s more likely that Solometo slots in as a solid backend arm with flashes of more.

88. Dillon Head – OF – San Diego Padres

Height/Weight: 5’10″, 185 | Bat/Throw: L/L | 1st Round (25), 2023 (SD) | ETA: 2027

HITPlate Disc.GAME POWERRUNFIELDFV
40/5535/4530/4070/7050/6055

Blazing speed with a natural feel to hit, Head has the mold of a table-setting center fielder.

Offense

A smooth, simple swing from the left-side geared for contact, Head sprays the ball all over the field with an excellent feel for the strike zone. Head has the ability to get to tough pitches and grind out at-bats, but will surprise with sneaky impact to his pull side. His elite athleticism aids him in the box both from a body control and adjustability standpoint; Head has a chance to be a plus hitter.

Defense/Speed

Head’s elite wheels are evident both in center field and on the base paths. He possesses ridiculous closing speed with good reads already. On the base paths, Head has the quickness to be a stolen base machine.

Outlook

Plus plus speed, the potential for a plus hit tool and impactful defense in center field make Head one of the higher-floor prep bats drafted outside of the first several picks in recent memory. He has enough impact potential for gap-to-gap power, but even with below average power, Head has the skillset to be a dynamic top-of-the-order threat who accumulates WAR and stolen bases.